Rains abate in Haiti as Tomas weakens

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:24 PM GMT on November 05, 2010

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Data from this afternoon's flight by the Hurricane Hunters shows that Tomas may have weakened to a tropical storm, though NHC is maintaining it as a hurricane in their 5pm advisory. The 3:28pm center fix found that Tomas' pressure had risen to 992 mb, and the top surface winds seen by the SFMR instrument were 64 mph. Highest winds at 10,000 feet were 74 mph, supporting reducing Tomas' status from hurricane to tropical storm--though it is possible that the aircraft did not sample the strongest winds of Tomas. The Gran Piedra, Cuba radar shows fewer echoes than this morning, and satellite loops also reveal a weakened storm, with much less heavy thunderstorm activity near the center. The weakening was probably due to the fact the center of Tomas passed very close to the rugged terrain of Haiti's southwest peninsula, and the rough mountains disrupted the flow into the developing eyewall of the hurricane. Conditions remain favorable for intensification, though, with wind shear a moderate 10 - 20 knots, and SSTs a very warm 29.5°C.


Figure 1. Visible MODIS satellite image taken by NASA's Terra satellite at 11:30am EDT November 5, 2010. image credit: NASA.

Impact on Hispaniola and Cuba
A trough of low pressure over the Eastern U.S. is drawing Tomas northeastward at 12 mph, and this forward speed will gradually increase to 15 mph by early Saturday morning. Tropical storm force winds of 39+ mph extend out about 140 miles to the east, and Tomas is probably bringing tropical storm force winds to the tip of eastern Cuba and Haiti's northwest peninsula at present. Rainfall is the primary concern from Tomas, though, not wind. Satellite estimates (Figure 2) indicate that Tomas dumped up to 4 - 6 inches of rain as of 8am EDT on much of southen Haiti; an additional 1 - 3 inches has probably fallen since then. However, the band of heavy rain to the south of Haiti that appeared poised to give southern Haiti an additional 3 - 6 inches of rain today got disrupted when Tomas' center brushed the mountainous tip of southwest Haiti. Thus, it appears the worst of the rain is over for Haiti. An additional 1 - 2 inches is possible in isolated regions, judging from recent satellite data. Preliminary news reports I've heard from Port-au-Prince indicate that the earthquake zone weathered the storm with no major loss of life. Severe flooding was reported on Haiti's southwest peninsula, with AP video showing 4 feet of water flowing through the streets of Leogane, 20 miles west of Port-au-Prince. It remains to be seen how the rest of Haiti fared, as satellite estimates of rainfall are often low, and do not properly measure the heavier rains that can fall in mountainous regions. A band of heavy rain is over the Dominican Republic this afternoon, and total rainfall amounts approaching ten inches in the mountains regions will likely cause dangerous flooding and mudslides in that country this afternoon and this evening.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated rain amounts for the 24-hour period ending at 8am EDT Friday, November 5, 2010. Rainfall amounts of 4 - 6 inches (green colors) occurred over Costa Rica, the southwestern peninsula of Haiti, and isolated regions of the Dominican Republic and the rest of Haiti. Image credit: Navy Research Lab, Monterey.

Impact on the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands
Although Tomas has been weakened by its close encounter with Haiti and now Cuba, the storm is in a favorable environment for re-intensification. I expect Tomas will re-intensify back to 85 mph winds by 2am EDT Saturday, as it passes through the Southeast Bahamas and Turks and Caicos Islands. 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.

Tomas the second most damaging hurricane in St. Lucia history
Prime Minister Stephenson King announced yesterday that damage on the island of St.Lucia was $185 million--five times higher than earlier estimates. This sum is 19% of St. Lucia's GDP, and is the second most expensive hurricane ever for the island. Tomas damaged 10,000 homes and killed 14 people during its rampage over the island last Saturday. St. Lucia received the full brunt of the northern eyewall of Tomas as it intensified, and the St. Lucia weather service reported that sustained winds of 90 - 95 mph affected the island. Power has been restored to 90% of the island and most of the tourist facilities have reopened, however.

Tomas is the strongest hurricane to affect St. Lucia since Category 1 Hurricane Dean of 2007 brought 90 mph winds to the island. Dean killed one person and did $6.4 million in damage--0.5% of the nation's GDP. The island's strongest hurricane since accurate records began in 1851 was Hurricane Allen of 1980, which struck as a Category 3 hurricane with 130 mph winds. Allen killed 18 people on St.Lucia, and caused catastrophic damage of $235 million dollars ($613 million 2010 dollars.) This was 177% of the nation's GDP that year. The deadliest hurricane in St. Lucia history was the Category 5 Great Hurricane of 1780, which killed approximately 700 people. The Great Hurricane of 1780 was the Atlantic's deadliest hurricane of all-time, with 22,000 fatalities, mostly in the Lesser Antilles Islands.


Figure 3. Damage on St. Lucia from Hurricane Tomas. Image credit: St. Lucia Star.

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 Saturday morning.

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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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i animal dance all the time


LOL, is there a video of animal dancing? Never heard of this either.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
i animal dance all the time


Your avvy suggests robotics.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


being swept away


Yep Tomas has fallen in love, in love with the cold front (too bad its not Virginie, this joke would make more sense)
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i animal dance all the time
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
i bet your a good animal dancer amy
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
India Meteorological Department
Tropical Cyclone Bulletin #12
CYCLONIC STORM JAL (BOB05-2010)
2:30 AM IST November 6 2010
==========================================

SUBJECT: Cyclone Jal Over Southeast Bay Of Bengal

Cyclone Warning for North Tamil Nadu and South Andhra Pradesh Coasts-Orange Message

At 18:00 PM UTC, Cyclonic Storm Jal moved northwestward and lays centered near 10.0N 86.5E, or about 570 km east northeast of Trincomalee, 750 km east southeast of Chennai, and 850 km southeast of Nellore.

3 minute sustained winds near the center is 45 knots with gusts of 55 knots. The central pressure is 994 hPa. The state of the sea is very high around the system's center.

Animation of past 24 hrs INSAT imagery indicates increase in deep convection and cloud mass is more organized. The Dvorak intensity is T3.0. The cloud dense overcast with well defined banding feature. Intense to very intense convection around the system center and broken intense to very intense convection between 5.0N to 14.5N and west of 88.0E. The lowest cloud top temperature due to convection is around -80C to -85C.

The current environmental conditions and numerical weather prediction models suggest that the system would intensify further and move west northwestward, crossing north Tamil Nadu and south Andhra Pradesh coasts between Puducherry and Nellore close to Chennai by Sunday evening/night

Forecast and Intensity
======================
6 HRS: 10.0N 86.0E - 50 knots (Severe Cyclonic Storm)
12 HRS: 10.0N 85.5E - 55 knots (Severe Cyclonic Storm)
30 HRS: 11.5N 83.0E - 65 knots (Very Severe Cyclonic Storm)
54 HRS: 13.5N 79.0E - 45 knots (Cyclonic Storm)

Vertical wind shear of horizontal wind over the region is low to moderate. 24 hour tendency of vertical wind shear shows negative tendency values north of the system during the past 24 hours. Sea surface temperature is 29-31C and the ocean heat content over south Bay of Bengal is 90-100 kj/cm2, which is favorable for intensification. The relative vorticity at 850 HPA level is (15-20*10-5S-1) and upper level divergence around the system center is also favorable for intensification. The system lies to the south of tropospheric ridge, which roughly runs along 15.0N at 200 HPA.
Member Since: May 24, 2006 Posts: 48 Comments: 43639
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Yup...

Could you imagine what would happen if we started seeing 40-45 named storms a season? :P


Dude, if that happened, I would fall of my chair and walk away. I might even quit from how mind boggling that would be, LOL!
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Toronto Pearson Int'l Airport
Date: 5:00 PM EDT Friday 5 November 2010
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 29.75 inches
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 15 miles
Air Quality Health Index: 2

Temperature: 37.0°F
Dewpoint: 31.1°F
Humidity: 79 %
Wind: N 16 gust 24 mph
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting stormwatcherCI:
How about Thor.


That would be a good complement to the name Igor. Heck, they even rhyme together. Time to write a poem!
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Quoting NCHurricane2009:


I never thought we would hit the greek alphabet (or even think of it) again in my lifetime. LOL, this season is so amazing. This only 5 years after the "super amazing, expealadotious, wow I am falling out of my chair, this is really weird" 2005 season.


Yup...

Could you imagine what would happen if we started seeing 40-45 named storms a season? :P
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Just got a brief update from home [Mayaguana, Bahamas]. Apparently everybody did their battening up this morning, and are now waiting to see what Tomas will bring. All three settlements there are on the western end of the island, and they are hoping the eye of the storm tracks east of them so that the worst of the eyewall stays out over water between there and Provo. However, as I mentioned earlier, all three settlements there are relatively near the beach, and thus run some risk of flooding from storm surge. I hope everyone in Inagua, Mayaguana, and Providenciales are ready...

Hmmm.... I need to update my blog....
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Corny goes animal dancing all the time....
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being swept away
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting hydrus:
Hang in there Nerd-Dude...... Your computer will be faster again, you can improve that grade no problem and your not flooded..You will be A o.k...:)

That made me laugh XD
I'm lurking for now until my computer gets faster.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5519
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
One to three more storms this year...YEAR.

Just my opinion...I believe we'll see Virgine this month...possibly Walter.

I do think that if we do not make it to Alpha, we will come really close (Walter).


I never thought we would hit the greek alphabet (or even think of it) again in my lifetime. LOL, this season is so amazing. This only 5 years after the "super amazing, expealadotious, wow I am falling out of my chair, this is really weird" 2005 season.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
its friday night anyone going animal dancing


LOL. I can't say I've heard of such a thing.

Evening, KOTG.
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Timothy? Timmy? Teodor?
How about Thor.
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One to three more storms this year...YEAR.

Just my opinion...I believe we'll see Virgine this month...possibly Walter.

I do think that if we do not make it to Alpha, we will come really close (Walter).
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Quoting farupnorth:


Looking att latest frames its recovering and building higher tops at core


Hasn't it been doing that for a little while now though? With that high cloud top near the core, Tomas weakened from 85 to 75 mph winds between 2 and 5 PM AST.

Zooming away from the core, Tomas looks way less circular and far more ragged. While there is a nice cloud top at the center, the rest of the convective organization looks kinda sloppy.
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Quoting StormHype:
Down right cold in FL next few days. This front brings the definite end to any chance of CONUS storm for the remainder of 2010 season. Adios until next summer.
Tomas is looking ragged....
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19497


if ya ask me we are watchin its last gasps and i do not think it will become much more then some mod winds thundershowers with heavy showers near to centre
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting lightningbolt73:
I cant believe that some places here in west central Fl. could go down into the 30s tonight and there is a Hurricane still bruing in the caribean!


For October (a transition month), this may actually be more common than you think.

What's really interesting here is that due to the much higher heat capacity (the ability to resist change in temperature with heating) in the ocean than over land. In the Northern Hemisphere, land reaches its hottest temperatures during the summer solstice (June), but because of water's heat capacity lag, ocean reach their peak temperature in September. So by October and November..., the land is quiet cooler than the water.

During this time of year, such land-ocean temperature contrast tends to drive strong extratropical storms that can briefly amplify this temperature contrast (for a few days) after a cold front passage (like it being cold over Florida tonight, while east of the front, its really warm, and there is a hurricane out there)!
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Quoting lightningbolt73:
I wonder what name they will use to replace Tomas? Let's all take a guess that would be fun. My guess is Terrence.

Timothy? Timmy? Teodor?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5519
Down right cold in FL next few days. This front brings the definite end to any chance of CONUS storm for the remainder of 2010 season. Adios until next summer.
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Quoting IKE:
"ALTERNATIVELY...IF THE INNER CORE OF TOMAS DOES NOT
QUICKLY REORGANIZE...THE SYSTEM MAY SIMPLY CONTINUE TO WEAKEN FROM
HERE ON IN.".....


Please die and end this season.


At least it is nice to get some rain now that all the grass is dead!!
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:



Thanks for the well wishes...
I am ready, but tired from the preparations.
I have a co-worker whose step-father lives in T & C. My co-worker went over after Ike to assist his step-father who had received serious damage. I just pray T&C and the Bahamas make it through ok.
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25 days remain
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting IKE:
"ALTERNATIVELY...IF THE INNER CORE OF TOMAS DOES NOT
QUICKLY REORGANIZE...THE SYSTEM MAY SIMPLY CONTINUE TO WEAKEN FROM
HERE ON IN.".....


Please die and end this season.
could be one more yet ike
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting NCHurricane2009:


Hmmm...

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 05/2100Z 20.3N 73.8W 65 KT
12HR VT 06/0600Z 22.0N 72.6W 70 KT
24HR VT 06/1800Z 23.9N 71.5W 80 KT

36HR VT 07/0600Z 24.8N 70.8W 75 KT
48HR VT 07/1800Z 25.4N 69.6W 55 KT
72HR VT 08/1800Z 26.5N 67.0W 30 KT
96HR VT 09/1800Z 26.5N 63.5W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
120HR VT 10/1800Z 27.0N 61.0W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW

Wow, I didn't know that the NHC was forecasting that. Interesting. Their discussion suggests that Tomas weakened solely because of land interaction, and that once it pulls away from the Greater Antilles, it could restrengthen. Then, wind shear beyond 24 hours is supposed to do this thing in (according to the above table).

IMO, Tomas doesn't look like it'll recover much. Its sat. appearance looks ill, not because of land interaction, but because it looks more elongated, ragged, and its struggling to make cloud tops west of center, signs of disruption from the incoming eastern US trough. The trough IMO will really prevent much if any redevelopment of Tomas.


Looking att latest frames its recovering and building higher tops at core
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Thanks for the well wishes...
I am ready, but tired from the preparations.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
I reeaaallyy can't say this is a good afternoon. Hearing that an important refugee camp was flooded in Haiti is horrible. Looking at those images from St. Lucia makes it even worse. And my computer's slow just to top it off. And to top THAT off, I got a bad grade at school.
Hang in there Nerd-Dude...... Your computer will be faster again, you can improve that grade no problem and your not flooded..You will be A o.k...:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19497
Afternoon all.

CRS, I was hoping that disruption would last long enough for Tomas to clear our area, but looks like not. Looks like Matthew Town is going to get another good blow. That makes the second time in three years that Inagua was the landfall point for a hurricane. I'm still waiting to see if Mayaguana is going to get hit also. Plus I'm checking with family members momentarily to see what preps they've made. This storm has the potential to do some damage to Pirate's Well and Betsy Bay from storm surge because of the onshore winds as it passes, especially if it can get to that cat 2 status that has been projected by some.... I hope the NHC possibility of weakening from here on out is a more accurate one.
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its friday night anyone going animal dancing
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
51. IKE
"ALTERNATIVELY...IF THE INNER CORE OF TOMAS DOES NOT
QUICKLY REORGANIZE...THE SYSTEM MAY SIMPLY CONTINUE TO WEAKEN FROM
HERE ON IN.".....


Please die and end this season.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:
I reeaaallyy can't say this is a good afternoon. Hearing that an important refugee camp was flooded in Haiti is horrible. Looking at those images from St. Lucia makes it even worse. And my computer's slow just to top it off. And to top THAT off, I got a bad grade at school.


Do you think your teacher/proffessor will curve the grades?

I got hammered some times, but so did the class, so there would be a curve.

At the end, it turns out better than expected sometimes. There are those uppity and down days.
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Quoting CycloneUK:
Met office shows a 960mb low bombing out as it aproaches the UK:

Yes...You all in the U.K. get whacked with some big wankers,,,Storms, lows, gales...Whatever there called, there are nasty...;)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19497
Quoting CycloneUK:
Met office shows a 960mb low bombing out as it aproaches the UK:

its called winter nothing out of the norm for this time of year
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 52149
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Be safe. I hope you are as prepared as you can possibly be.
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Quoting DontAnnoyMe:


Doc's pic shows flood damage, not wind. I believe Raleigh did get some of that type of water damage around the usually flood prone Crabtree Creek areas.


Taking another look (rather than blowing by the picture Dr. M posted), you're right. It is rushing water that did that damage. Looks like Tomas was a "wet" hurricane, bringing really soaking rains. After all, its storm surge and flooding that can do more damage than wind.

You are also right about Fran. Crabtree Creek was flooded big time. Crabtree Valley Mall was so ruined by the floods. It was surreal to see that as a kid.
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What an amazing and unusual tropical season this has been!!
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Met office shows a 960mb low bombing out as it aproaches the UK:

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
Geez..Nevermind...I was thinking you were further to the west..Got the shutters and rum ready.?..:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19497
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Expected to strengthen again.


Hmmm...

FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 05/2100Z 20.3N 73.8W 65 KT
12HR VT 06/0600Z 22.0N 72.6W 70 KT
24HR VT 06/1800Z 23.9N 71.5W 80 KT

36HR VT 07/0600Z 24.8N 70.8W 75 KT
48HR VT 07/1800Z 25.4N 69.6W 55 KT
72HR VT 08/1800Z 26.5N 67.0W 30 KT
96HR VT 09/1800Z 26.5N 63.5W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
120HR VT 10/1800Z 27.0N 61.0W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW

Wow, I didn't know that the NHC was forecasting that. Interesting. Their discussion suggests that Tomas weakened solely because of land interaction, and that once it pulls away from the Greater Antilles, it could restrengthen. Then, wind shear beyond 24 hours is supposed to do this thing in (according to the above table).

IMO, Tomas doesn't look like it'll recover much. Its sat. appearance looks ill, not because of land interaction, but because it looks more elongated, ragged, and its struggling to make cloud tops west of center, signs of disruption from the incoming eastern US trough. The trough IMO will really prevent much if any redevelopment of Tomas.
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I reeaaallyy can't say this is a good afternoon. Hearing that an important refugee camp was flooded in Haiti is horrible. Looking at those images from St. Lucia makes it even worse. And my computer's slow just to top it off. And to top THAT off, I got a bad grade at school.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5519
Quoting Ameister12:
First snow of the season for Cincinnati is happening right now.
I would bet Cincinnati has had snow earlier than November...We had our first flurries and ice pellets today too..
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 19497

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About JeffMasters

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