Hurricane Tomas lashing Haiti with torrential rains

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:57 PM GMT on November 05, 2010

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Deadly Hurricane Tomas has intensified into a dangerous Category 1 hurricane with 85 mph winds this morning, and is lashing Haiti, eastern Cuba, and the southwestern coast of the Dominican Republic with torrential rains. Observations from the Gran Piedra, Cuba radar show that the eye of Tomas is skirting the tip of the southwestern Peninsula of Haiti, and the winds of the powerful eastern eyewall of the storm are pounding the western end of the peninsula. An Air Force hurricane hunter aircraft just left Tomas, and measured top surface winds of 86 mph at 7:13am EDT. Satellite loops of Tomas show an impressive Central Dense Overcast (CDO) of high cirrus clouds with very cold tops has pushed into the lower stratosphere above Tomas and has flattened out, hiding the surface center from view. An eye is not yet visible on satellite imagery. The latest center fix at 7:08am EDT found that the pressure had risen slightly to 988 mb, which may be a sign that interaction with the mountainous terrain of southwestern Haiti may have caused some disruption of Tomas. However, Tomas should resume intensifying this afternoon now that the center has moved past the southwestern tip of Haiti, as wind shear is a moderate 10 - 20 knots, and SSTs are a very warm 29.5°C.


Figure 1. Rainfall rate for Tomas as observed by the F-17 polar orbiting satellite at 6:42am EDT Friday, November 5, 2010. Heaviest rainfall rates in excess of 1.4 inches per hour (pink colors) were in the west eyewall, and are likely to miss Haiti. However, a long band of intense rain (1/2" - 3/4" per hour) extended to the southwest of Port-au-Prince, and these rains will impact the cities in Haiti most vulnerable to catastrophic flooding, Port-au-Prince and Gonaives. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Impact on Hispaniola and Cuba
A trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. is drawing Tomas northeastward at 9 mph, and this forward speed will gradually increase to 15 mph by early Saturday morning. Hurricane force winds extend outwards only 15 miles to the east of Tomas' center, and only the extreme tips of Haiti's southwest and northwest peninsulas will receive hurricane force winds. Tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph extend out about 140 miles to the east, and Tomas will pass far enough from the Port-au-Prince earthquake zone that winds there will not exceed 30 - 35 mph. However, the northern Haitian city of Gonaives will receive 40 - 45 mph winds this afternoon and this evening, as will the eastern tip of Cuba. Rainfall is the primary concern from Tomas, though, not wind. Satellite estimates (Figure 1) indicate that Tomas has already dumped up to 6 inches of rain on Haiti's southwest peninsula, and 3 inches in the Port-au-Prince earthquake zone. Recent microwave imagery (Figure 2) shows that while the heaviest rains from Tomas lie in the west eyewall and will miss Haiti, a long band of heavy rain with rainfall rates of 1/2" - 3/4" per hour lies to the southwest of Port-au-Prince and Gonaives, the two most vulnerable cities in Haiti to catastrophic flooding. The rain band is lined up to bring the earthquake zone of Haiti an additional 3" - 6" of rain today and tonight, bringing the storm total for Port-au-Prince and the surrounding mountains to 6" - 9". Rains of this magnitude are likely to cause extremely dangerous flooding for the 1.3 million Haitians living in makeshift refugee camps, and may cause heavy loss of life. Also of concern is the rains that will fall in northwestern Haiti, particularly in the highly vulnerable city of Gonaives, where rains from Tropical Storm Jeanne in 2004 killed 3,000 people. A band of heavy rain will also affect the southern Dominican Republic today, and total rainfall amounts approaching ten inches in the mountains near the southwestern coast will likely cause dangerous flooding and mudslides.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated rain amounts for the 24-hour period ending at 2am EDT Friday, November 5, 2010. Rainfall amounts of up to 6 inches (dark green colors) occurred over Costa Rica and the extreme southwestern tip of Haiti. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Impact on the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands
Tomas appears likely to thread the narrow gap of water between Cuba and Haiti, and will likely emerge into the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands as a Category 1 hurricane. According to the 5am EDT NHC wind radius forecast (Figure 3), tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph should begin in the Inagua Islands by noon today, then spread to the Turks and Caicos Islands by 3pm EDT. A 30-mile wide swath along the center of Tomas' path will receive hurricane force winds of 74+ mph. Once Tomas pushes north of the islands on Sunday, the storm should weaken quickly, as wind shear is expected to rise to a very high 50 knots.


Figure 3. Predicted position and location of Tomas' tropical storm force winds (dark green colors) and hurricane force winds (yellow colors) as predicted in the 5am EDT NHC advisory.

Costa Rica mudslides kill 20
Mudslides killed at least 20 people in Costa Rica yesterday, after heavy rains sent mud rushing over at least five homes in San Antonio de Escazu, a suburb of the nation's capital. A very moist flow of Pacific air been drawn eastwards over Central America over the past three days by Hurricane Tomas, triggering the heavy rains in Costa Rica. This moisture has also been drawn into Hurricane Tomas, and is helping fuel the heavy rains over Haiti. Satellite observations (Figure 2) suggest that up to 6 inches of rain fell over Costa Rica during the 24 hours ending at 2am EDT this morning. Earlier in the week, an additional 2 - 6 inches of rain had fallen over the nation.

Organizations Active in Haitian Relief Efforts:
Portlight disaster relief has shipped their mobile kitchen to Quisqueya, Haiti, and the kitchen will be ready to feed 500 people per day.
Lambi Fund of Haiti
Haiti Hope Fund
Catholic Relief Services of Haiti

Next update
I'll have an update this afternoon.

My post on Haiti's hurricane history is now a permanent link in the "Articles of interest" section on our Tropical & Hurricane web page.

Jeff Masters

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349. Minnemike
8:31 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
good, a new blog... i'm not wasting any space then telling Jeff9641 that those have been racist statements, and the lack of understanding why is sad enough. Your impostor had better posts Jeff, I cannot stomach your disgusting thoughtless posts anymore, and your entries will now sit in limbo along with your impostor's. from me to you, a rarely announced POOF!
Member Since: July 31, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1320
348. outlookchkr
8:26 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Any updates on how the DR is doing rain wise? Looks like they have been getting some pretty heavy bands over the last couple of hours.
Member Since: October 28, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 65
347. lilElla
8:26 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Neapolitan:

Bring back Papa Doc, huh? Are you aware that Duvalier murdered an estimated 30,000 political enemies during his reign of terror and corruption? 30,000? Did you know he imprisoned and tortured thousands more? Did you know he stole land from Haiti's poor and gave it to hand-picked members of his militia, all of whom made no salary but enriched themselves through extortion and other crimes? The dictator/president-for-life/voodoo icon/murdering sociopath was one of the biggest pieces of human excrement ever to walk the face of the earth, and you think bringing him back would be a swell way to lower the crime rate? In other words, utilize mass murder as a means of cleaning the place up?

Great plan. You should run that by the powers that be and see what they think...

(Seriously, Jeff, I try to just ignore you most of the time, but as a member here, I don't want casual visitors thinking we're all so given to such ludicrous and illogical statements.)




+1000 - sorry Orca, had to up the anty :)
Excellent post Nea
Member Since: December 5, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 275
344. tropicfreak
8:23 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:
Haiti needs a system like Saudi Arabia. Eye for eye tooth for a tooth. If you steal there they cut your hand off in public and trust me it's true. Rap and then off goes the banana.


I think they did that in Hammurabi's Code.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
340. Neapolitan
8:20 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:
Yeah, rappers jumping up and down acting all crazy/tribal on TV to raise money was for the birds what they should have done was gotten their butts gone down there to help with the relief efforts. That would have been a great way to channel that energy.

Jeff, I ask this out of respect: please stop with the racist ranting. Please. The fact that some of us have shown interest in and sympathy for your grandfather who works in Haiti should in no way be misconstrued by you as a license to spout unanswered bigotry.

Again, please stop. Now...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13799
339. weaverwxman
8:19 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
It is a democratic govt without checks and balances.Just barely better than a communist govt.
Member Since: November 17, 2009 Posts: 0 Comments: 383
336. lickitysplit
8:14 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Neapolitan:

Bring back Papa Doc, huh? Are you aware that Duvalier murdered an estimated 30,000 political enemies during his reign of terror and corruption? 30,000? Did you know he imprisoned and tortured thousands more? Did you know he stole land from Haiti's poor and gave it to hand-picked members of his militia, all of whom made no salary but enriched themselves through extortion and other crimes? The dictator/president-for-life/voodoo icon/murdering sociopath was one of the biggest pieces of human excrement ever to walk the face of the earth, and you think bringing him back would be a swell way to lower the crime rate? In other words, utilize mass murder as a means of cleaning the place up?

Great plan. You should run that by the powers that be and see what they think...

(Seriously, Jeff, I try to just ignore you most of the time, but as a member here, I don't want casual visitors thinking we're all so given to such ludicrous and illogical statements.)


Spot on.
Member Since: May 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 632
333. tropicfreak
8:14 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


What I saw today is pretty obvious. Reed is 22, how old are you acting this way?

Quoting SQUAWK:


I knew I would get the age data out of him. LOL He just cannot resist. Bet if I try hard enough I can get address and parents name - not that I care but he is just so damn juvenile about this stuff.


Reed has taken enough criticism from enough people on here to last a day, stop bashing reed, he just wants to learn more about weather just like the rest of us. This comment isn't directed to you dover but anyone who has criticized reed. Believe me, I've been teased before, and I'm sure everyone of you has been made fun of as well, so treat others the way you want to be treated.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
332. lickitysplit
8:13 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting ncstorm:
After reading some of the the comments, I thought Rand Paul was blogging..ridiculous ignorant statements..

Haitians will need more help than ever, my prayers are with them!


Exactly.
Member Since: May 17, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 632
331. Orcasystems
8:12 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Neapolitan:

Bring back Papa Doc, huh? Are you aware that Duvalier murdered an estimated 30,000 political enemies during his reign of terror and corruption? 30,000? Did you know he imprisoned and tortured thousands more? Did you know he stole land from Haiti's poor and gave it to hand-picked members of his militia, all of whom made no salary but enriched themselves through extortion and other crimes? The dictator/president-for-life/voodoo icon/murdering sociopath was one of the biggest pieces of human excrement ever to walk the face of the earth, and you think bringing him back would be a swell way to lower the crime rate? In other words, utilize mass murder as a means of cleaning the place up?

Great plan. You should run that by the powers that be and see what they think...

(Seriously, Jeff, I try to just ignore you most of the time, but as a member here, I don't want casual visitors thinking we're all so given to such ludicrous and illogical statements.)


+1
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
329. tropicfreak
8:10 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting shadoclown45:
Its sad how haiti was the first in the western world to be a democracy, and look how poor they are they have been ruled by so many people who have been elected by the people but just turnd out to be corrupt... So sad.


This isn't a political blog.
Member Since: September 2, 2006 Posts: 110 Comments: 6878
328. Neapolitan
8:08 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:


I think we need Poppa Doc back though to make an example so that some of this crime there can subside. Make a couple examples of people then crime will quickly go away and more and more people can be helped.

Bring back Papa Doc, huh? Are you aware that Duvalier murdered an estimated 30,000 political enemies during his reign of terror and corruption? 30,000? Did you know he imprisoned and tortured thousands more? Did you know he stole land from Haiti's poor and gave it to hand-picked members of his militia, all of whom made no salary but enriched themselves through extortion and other crimes? The dictator/president-for-life/voodoo icon/murdering sociopath was one of the biggest pieces of human excrement ever to walk the face of the earth, and you think bringing him back would be a swell way to lower the crime rate? In other words, utilize mass murder as a means of cleaning the place up?

Great plan. You should run that by the powers that be and see what they think...

(Seriously, Jeff, I try to just ignore you most of the time, but as a member here, I don't want casual visitors thinking we're all so given to such ludicrous and illogical statements.)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13799
327. Orcasystems
8:04 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 5th day of the month at 19:55Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 309)
Storm Number & Year: 21L in 2010
Storm Name: Tomas (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 19
Observation Number: 09
A. Time of Center Fix: 5th day of the month at 19:28:00Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 19°57'N 73°58'W (19.95N 73.9667W)
B. Center Fix Location: 121 miles (195 km) to the E (93°) from Santiago de Cuba, Cuba.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 3,036m (9,961ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 53kts (~ 61.0mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 1 nautical miles (1 statute miles) to the W (272°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 120° at 29kts (From the ESE at ~ 33.4mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 28 nautical miles (32 statute miles) to the N (358°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 992mb (29.29 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 10°C (50°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,047m (9,997ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 13°C (55°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,049m (10,003ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 9°C (48°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Not Available
M. Eye Shape: Not Available
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Level: 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Wind Outbound: 59kts (~ 67.9mph) in the southeast quadrant at 19:46:00Z
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 59kts (~ 67.9mph) in the southeast quadrant at 19:46:00Z
Displacement of Sfc. Center From Flt. Lvl. Center: Surface center is 12 nautical miles (14 statute miles) to the SSE (167°) from the flight level center
Maximum Flight Level Temp: 16°C (61°F) which was observed 22 nautical miles (25 statute miles) to the SE (143°) from the flight level center
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
322. hydrus
7:58 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting pilotguy1:
How about this plan for Haiti? We are shipping all these jobs to China. Give American companies a incentive to put factories in Haiti. Average income is $1300 per year. That works out to around $.50 /hour. We could pay twice that and still be way below the cost of goods from China because Haiti is so much closer. Capitalism actually does work. Let's stop throwing money at the problem and help them to help themselves.
Sounds like a win/win situation if it were to happen. People in this country have been complaining for decades about China,s huge influx of imported goods to this country...There are experts that say China will surpass the U.S. in the economic realm in less than 25 years..With the number of natural resources available to them, and that over a billion population factored in, I am not surprised.
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 22617
321. TampaTom
7:56 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting SunnyDaysFla:

There were clothing factories in Haiti, up and running again, shortly after the quake. I sure would rather buy products made in Haiti than China.


I just ordered T-Shirts to promote my woodworking blog.. and they were made in Haiti...

Kinda like when I bought all that Chilean wine after the big earthquake there earlier this year... :-)
Member Since: June 20, 2005 Posts: 22 Comments: 1054
317. SunnyDaysFla
7:50 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting pilotguy1:
How about this plan for Haiti? We are shipping all these jobs to China. Give American companies a incentive to put factories in Haiti. Average income is $1300 per year. That works out to around $.50 /hour. We could pay twice that and still be way below the cost of goods from China because Haiti is so much closer. Capitalism actually does work. Let's stop throwing money at the problem and help them to help themselves.

There were clothing factories in Haiti, up and running again, shortly after the quake. I sure would rather buy products made in Haiti than China.
Member Since: September 19, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 642
312. shadoclown45
7:44 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Its sad how haiti was the first in the western world to be a democracy, and look how poor they are they have been ruled by so many people who have been elected by the people but just turnd out to be corrupt... So sad.
Member Since: July 27, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 108
311. Chicklit
7:44 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Personnel is very important so you hire organizations that are already structured.
This saves a lot of time 'reinventing the wheel.'
Then you listen to them and they tell you what they think needs to be done.
Then you come to an agreement and things start happening.
This is not rocket science.
But it does require experts in the field of critical human services.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
308. Chicklit
7:41 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Jeff9641:


That is correct! Lots of the money so far has not made it to the people. Once mt granddad gets the pics posted online then I will share them with the WU community.

The money doesn't go directly to the people.
It has to go to people who will create infrastructure. That means education and training. If you go back to medieval times, they had guilds. You figure out which skill to assign and then they go to those camps and learn. You provide decent shelter, food, and also training so they can build/grow their own. It's not really that complicated. But often the simplest things are the most difficult to realize because people have many other matters on their minds besides the situation at hand.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
307. remembercleo
7:41 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
All time historical points of tropical cyclone origin since 1851 Atlantic, 1949 for E Pacific

Member Since: November 2, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 103
304. Orcasystems
7:38 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Complete Update


AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TSPIN BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
303. Orcasystems
7:38 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Chicklit:


Hydrus, the Haitians need good planning more than blessings at this point.

The blessings are waiting for the appropriate agencies to step up to the plate and deliver services.


Look at post #300
Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
301. Chicklit
7:37 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting hydrus:
Haiti might receive less from Tomas then what was originally feared. A blessing for the people there....They could use a few more blessings in the form of medicine, food, water and some sturdy dwellings down there..


Hydrus, the Haitians need good planning more than blessings at this point.

The blessings are waiting for the appropriate agencies to step up to the plate and deliver services.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11423
300. Orcasystems
7:36 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Quoting Chicklit:
Looks like there is some need for humanitarian missions to step up to the plate in Haiti.
My point yesterday was the funds should be outsourced to reputable aid agencies who will then account for every dollar.

Time to get to work on this since it appears conditions will continue to worsen post Tomas.

Why is it so difficult to contract humanitarian aid through agencies already there on the ground?!
I don't get it.

Most of Haiti's post-quake homeless live under donated plastic tarps on open fields. Much is private land, where they have been constantly fighting eviction. A September report from U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 29 percent of 1,268 camps studied had been closed forcibly, meaning the often violent relocation of tens of thousands of people.
Link: LinktoNewsArticle

What's the big whoop about paying people to get a job done?! Good grief.


Organizations Active in Haitian Relief Efforts:
For Haitian relief organizations, here are three that already have feet on the ground. Lord only knows what kind of devastation Tomas is going to bring to those areas. A credit card donation today could be working on the ground tomorrow.






Haiti Hope Fund


Member Since: October 1, 2007 Posts: 81 Comments: 26516
299. hurricanejunky
7:36 PM GMT on November 05, 2010
Wow! Possibly in the 30's tonight! Interesting early cold snap...the wind is whipping and it's already feeling pretty chilly...have a great weekend everyone!
Member Since: August 28, 2006 Posts: 6 Comments: 2899

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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