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 Bordonaro:

That is all it was a dream!!
MLK had a dream too. I like his better.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


We did it last week..(Mexico) People that forgot were actually on time for a change. That didn't last long.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 171 Comments: 53841
I see that NOAA has upped the odds on TC formation for the CATL blob. Not the one around 12N/30W that some have been tracking for several days, nor the one to the west of that, but rather the swirl roughly centered at 27N/48W. ASCAT may catch it in a few hours, so we'll have a better idea; meanwhile, 850 mb vorticity is evident. The whole thing is a bit far north, but it's sinking southward, so we may have something to watch in a day or two...
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good saterday morning all soooo glad Hati didint get a direct hit from Tomas
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32 this morning in Tallahassee
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Quoting hurricaneben:
I had a strange dream that Hurricane Tomas was headed straight at Florida as a TD or something.

That is all it was a dream!!
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
For a hurricane, Tomas was not much for me here on Provo. My house is protected by a ridge to the East and North, my highest gust here was about 40 mph. I got three inches of rain.
40 mph and 3 inches. I have had twice as much from a mean Florida summer time thunderstorm....:)
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21239
I had a strange dream that Hurricane Tomas was headed straight at Florida as a TD or something.
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Quoting SQUAWK:


Hey CRS, exactly where is Provo? I can't seem to find it on Google Earth.
In Utah..lol
Member Since: September 27, 2007 Posts: 1 Comments: 21239
Quoting Bordonaro:

Canada :O)

lol
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5684
Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Where's my snow?
You shouldn't be using those four letter words like that Nerd :)
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

Where's my snow?

Canada :O)
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Quoting HurricaneDean07:
Morning All, woke up to frost on the ground, so my guess is that is froze last night, the actual low was said to 36. doesnt really mean that it cant freeze over but it can still freeze.
last year we saw an inch of snow with 36* F
kind of wierd of how we had three rounds of snow last winter all in total though was like 1.33 IN
I guess thats pretty nice due to the fact that we never really get snow here. i give it a 20% chance of that happening again.

Where's my snow?
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5684
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
A couple of notable hurricane "firsts" for me:

a. I slept next to an open window
b. after 3am I needed a blanket.... it was "cold" for this island guy.


Oh, yeah! Now that'll be a great hurricane memory!

CRS - you've got mail
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5 inches of rain here in Cayey PR from the last 24 hours. Temp. 74.6F windchill 69.5F
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Quoting WeatherNerdPR:

79.7F here XD.

Go ahead and rub it in :O)..It is 37F here in Arlington, TX at 33N latitude.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Thats all I have to look forward to all Winter..is hoping for snow in Florida :P


Probably wont get it, La Nina usually translate to a warmer winter for the SE United States although it would be nice to get some snow flurries.
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Quoting WxLogic:
Morning... wow...40.5F been a while.

79.7F here XD.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5684
Recon Positioning to go through Tomas' Core again to get another pressure reading. it will be interesting if they find a lower pressure.
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Quoting IKE:


But...the countdown to the 2011 tropical season will be on-going:)
i'll be post a countdown clock this offseason...

Thinking...
Time For Poll Time:
Do You Think We Will See Anymore Additions To The Storm Count?
(A) Yes
(B) No

Will 2011 Hurricane Season Be...
(A) As Active As 2010
(B) More Active Than 2010
(C) As Active As 2007 or 2008
(D) Below Average

Let Me know if you have #'s or if you want to post #'s on your predictions for the 2011 season

My Long Range Is:
14 to 19 Storms
7 to 12 Hurricanes
4 to 6 Major Hurricanes
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Good Morning.
Member Since: July 7, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 5684
Quoting Orcasystems:
Complete Update


AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TSPIN BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
kind of wierd, the first recon today stated the pressure was rising gradually and then the new recon comes in and finds pressure dropping.
First Recon~last recon pressure=994
current recon~latest pressure=990
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Morning All, woke up to frost on the ground, so my guess is that is froze last night, the actual low was said to 36. doesnt really mean that it cant freeze over but it can still freeze.
last year we saw an inch of snow with 36* F
kind of wierd of how we had three rounds of snow last winter all in total though was like 1.33 IN
I guess thats pretty nice due to the fact that we never really get snow here. i give it a 20% chance of that happening again.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
A couple of notable hurricane "firsts" for me:

a. I slept next an open window
b. after 3am I needed a blanket.... it was "cold" for this island guy.


Hey CRS, exactly where is Provo? I can't seem to find it on Google Earth.
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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.
JM
Watching the loop, it's quite evident that this happened. Wow.
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A couple of notable hurricane "firsts" for me:

a. I slept next to an open window
b. after 3am I needed a blanket.... it was "cold" for this island guy.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6037
KEY WEST NAVAL AIR STATION, FL, United States


Wind from the NE (040 degrees) at 9 MPH (8 KT) gusting to 16 MPH (14 KT)
Visibility 10 mile(s)
Sky conditions mostly cloudy
Temperature 64.0 F (17.8 C)
Dew Point 48.9 F (9.4 C)
Relative Humidity 57%
Pressure (altimeter) 30.11 in. Hg (1019 hPa)
Pressure tendency 0.05 inches (1.7 hPa) higher than three hours ago
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For a hurricane, Tomas was not much for me here on Provo. My house is protected by a ridge to the East and North, my highest gust here was about 40 mph. I got three inches of rain.
Member Since: July 12, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 6037
508. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


Thats all I have to look forward to all Winter..is hoping for snow in Florida :P


But...the countdown to the 2011 tropical season will be on-going:)
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
OK, things going bump in the night enough to wake me up.
I am somewhat protected from the East, I show 25 gusting to 35 mph from the NNE with rain here on Provo.


Looks like things turning out a little better than expected for all concerned.
40 degrees here in ecfl this a.m.
About the entire FL peninsula is under fire watch.
Though we finally got some rain Thurs. nite with the cold front.
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Quoting IKE:


***fingers crossed***


Thats all I have to look forward to all Winter..is hoping for snow in Florida :P
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west nile seems to be able to with stand the cold better than the other mosquito born illnesses it is becoming a problem locally
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504. IKE
Quoting Orcasystems:


Going to snow early for you this year :)


***fingers crossed***
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Morning... wow...40.5F been a while.
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Complete Update


AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TSPIN BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting IKE:
My heater comes on when it's in the 50's outside.

It's blasting away now with 38.8 outside.

Take your pick...

Cars...Touch and Go.

or...

Donnie Iris...Ah Leah.


Going to snow early for you this year :)
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499. IKE
5:00 AM EDT Sat Nov 6
Location: 21.9°N 71.3°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: NE at 15 mph
Min pressure: 993 mb
.............................

...CENTER OF TOMAS MOVING AWAY FROM THE TURKS AND CAICOS INTO THE OPEN ATLANTIC...
8:00 AM EDT Sat Nov 6
Location: 22.5°N 70.9°W
Max sustained: 70 mph
Moving: NE at 15 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
498. IKE
Tomas fixing to get hammered in shear....

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Demasiada lluvia también puede ser malo.
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496. IKE
My heater comes on when it's in the 50's outside.

It's blasting away now with 38.8 outside.

Take your pick...

Cars...Touch and Go.

or...

Donnie Iris...Ah Leah.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Matos explicó que para este huracán hay dos posibles escenarios atados a una vaguada en el área.

"Esperamos que gire hacia el noreste pasando por el canal de los vientos, y se establezca sobre el norte de Haití. Ahora, ahí está la disyuntiva, porque se pensaba que giraría, y hay una vaguada moviéndose que se lo va encontrar y que lo puede halar al noreste", dijo Matos.



De inmediato, añadió que si la vaguada no logra halar a Tomás debido a su lento movimiento, "posiblemente el sistema se quede cerca de nosotros y se quede dando vuelta por esa área".

Y eso, según dijo, no sería favorable.

"Lo peor de todo es que vamos a tener ese sistema por varios días. Quizás no como huracán, sino una área de baja presión", dijo Matos destacando la lluvia que puede generar un sistema atmosférico de esa índole
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Morning Surfmom and all,

A chilly 36 degrees here in Louisiana. I refuse to turn the heat on yet!!
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Morning to all - quick check b/4 I head over to the Gulf to get some waves - kinda a chilly here for locals in SWFL - 50 degrees Mucho FRIO

(((CRS))) MY FAVORITE Carib Sailor hoping all is safe for you

concerns continue regarding that Volcano in Indo --that could be a weather changing event if he doesn't calm down...... praying the locals find places to evacuate... frankly I'd be terrified living there... least with 'canes we get a head's up

I've been asking about a loop all week - I see it's being mentioned....... is this a possibility?????

and I think any creation of MaNature has a will to live -- Tomas is a bit smarter then your average storm... let's hope he get's sheared or starved for moisture
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I think this is a little early for w c fl. BRRRRR!!
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Morning all. Looks like the worst of the precipitation is almost over for the Caicos...



Member Since: October 25, 2005 Posts: 19 Comments: 22140
Hi Caicos retired sailor, stay safe. Hope all goes well after Tomas. But will it do a Hanna loop?
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Passage over EastCaicos

TropicalStormTomas's heading turned northward to (2degrees north of) NorthEast
from it's previous heading of (10.3degrees north of) EastNorthEast
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions decreased to ~15.7mph(~25.2km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~25.7mph(~41.3km/h)
H.Tomas
5Nov 09amGMT - 18.1n74.9w - 80mph(~128.7km/h) - 984mb - NHC.Adv.#29
5Nov 12pmGMT - 18.8n74.7w - 85mph(~136.8km/h) - 987mb - NHC.Adv.#29A
5Nov 03pmGMT - 19.1n74.4w - 85mph(~136.8km/h) - 987mb - NHC.Adv.#30
5Nov 06pmGMT - 19.8n74.0w - 85mph(~136.8km/h) - 987mb - NHC.Adv.#30A
5Nov 09pmGMT - 20.3n73.8w - 75mph(~120.7km/h) - 991mb - NHC.Adv.#31
6Nov 12amGMT - 20.4n73.1w - 75mph(~120.7km/h) - 994mb - NHC.Adv.#31A
6Nov 03amGMT - 20.8n72.8w - 75mph(~120.7km/h) - 994mb - NHC.Adv.#32
6Nov 06amGMT - 21.4n71.8w - 75mph(~120.7km/h) - 992mb - NHC.Adv.#32A
TS.Tomas
6Nov 09amGMT - 21.9n71.3w - 70mph(~112.7km/h) - 993mb - NHC.Adv.#33

Copy&paste 18.1n74.9w, 18.8n74.7w, 19.1n74.4w, 19.8n74.0w, 20.3n73.8w-20.4n73.1w, 20.4n73.1w-20.8n72.8w, 20.8n72.8w-21.4n71.8w, 21.4n71.8w-21.9n71.3w, mds, xsc, ngd into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.
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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.