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 bluenosedave:


Depends on what, and what you don't, count as an atoll. It's a matter of definition.

In any case, you won't deny that atolls most likely occur in the oldest ocean basins.


Nope, and I never did :P LOL
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Quoting tornadodude:


haha really?

great minds think alike I suppose


Now that is a scary thought!
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Quoting Grothar:


Leave it to you. How you doing?


better than I look...
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Quoting Grothar:


Be careful, I started this whole thing with just that pun a little earlier.


haha really?

great minds think alike I suppose
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Quoting hurristat:


Not true. The Atlantic has a total of eight atolls, while the Pacific has hundreds, for reasons I list below.


Depends on what, and what you don't, count as an atoll. It's a matter of definition.

In any case, you won't deny that atolls most likely occur in the oldest ocean basins.
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Quoting Grothar:


Yeah, just a slight animated discussion on atolls and where and how they are formed. TD, you know a lot about these. Is it true that most atolls are 50% below sea level?


Oh fudge! Did you know we can legitimately use the word annular here?

as "..an annular reef enclosing a lagoon in which there are no promontories other than reefs and islets composed of reef detritus"
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Quoting tornadodude:


haha

more than likely they are, although I dont know much about them atoll


Be careful, I started this whole thing with just that pun a little earlier.
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Quoting Grothar:


Yeah, just a slight animated discussion on atolls and where and how they are formed. TD, you know a lot about these. Is it true that most atolls are 50% below sea level?


haha

more than likely they are, although I dont know much about them atoll
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Quoting Portlight:


I thought a toll was the fee ya paid to drive on certain roads...


Leave it to you. How you doing?
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Quoting Grothar:


Yeah, just a slight animated discussion on atolls and where and how they are formed. TD, you know a lot about these. Is it true that most atolls are 50% below sea level?


It's more like 90% -- just like icebergs :D
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Quoting Portlight:


I thought a toll was the fee ya paid to drive on certain roads...

me too.
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Quoting Grothar:


Yeah, just a slight animated discussion on atolls and where and how they are formed. TD, you know a lot about these. Is it true that most atolls are 50% below sea level?


I thought a toll was the fee ya paid to drive on certain roads...
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Quoting tornadodude:
everyone seems to be having a nice time in here tonight ha


Yeah, just a slight animated discussion on atolls and where and how they are formed. TD, you know a lot about these. Is it true that most atolls are 50% below sea level?
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Quoting geepy86:
hey dude


Go "dude"! I'll cover ya. Still laughing.
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I hear the sound in their way to isla verde airport nice humming sound
Member Since: September 21, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 471
Quoting geepy86:
good, and you?


great, thanks!

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hurricane hunter flying over Puerto Rico?
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Quoting JLPR2:


Yeah, the ATL is ''young'' XD
Isn't the Atl slowly expanding due to the movement of the tectonic plates?


That would be correct sir. The Atlantic has only formed since the dissolution of Pangaea.... the Pacific is the remnants of a global ocean. Anyway, the Atlantic is geologically young (~200-150 million years), and it takes a very long time for volcanoes to reach the surface. (Also, most of the volcanoes that would form atolls are still above water: Martinique, Guadeloupe, etc.)
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Quoting geepy86:
good, and you?


Holy XXXX. Nice! LMAO.
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most of the roads on the SW peninsular of Haiti are flooded....it's rather rural so they weren't that great to begin with...4 dead confirmed so far....some injuries....daylight will tell much more...
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good, and you?
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Quoting geepy86:
hey dude


how you doing?
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hey dude
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365. JLPR2
Quoting hurristat:


It has to do with the formation of atolls: An island volcano forms and the coral reefs around it form a sort of barrier around the island, even reaching above the surface. When the top of the volcano becomes submerged due to erosion and inactivity, the coral "atoll" is left behind. The reason that they don't occur in the Atlantic as much is that the Atlantic is a relatively young basin, and there hasn't been much time for a volcano to go through the entirety of that process.


Yeah, the ATL is ''young'' XD
Isn't the Atl slowly expanding due to the movement of the tectonic plates?
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8514
Quoting RTLSNK:


Hi Stat, did you see the 1978 remake with Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Jeff Goldblum? That version was much better than the original 56 movie.


I don't remember, it was a couple years ago, but I think it was the original... it was in black and white, and by 78, black and white was no longer en vogue, so I'd assume it's the '56 version.
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everyone seems to be having a nice time in here tonight ha
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Quoting hurristat:


Um, I know that movie, and I'm still a teenager... :P


Hi Stat, did you see the 1978 remake with Donald Sutherland, Brooke Adams, and Jeff Goldblum? That version was much better than the original 56 movie.
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Quoting bluenosedave:

The short answer is that there's nearly as many atolls in the Atlantic as in the Pacific, but they're just more localized in the Atlantic.


Not true. The Atlantic has a total of eight atolls, while the Pacific has hundreds, for reasons I list below.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Cute, Grothar, but wrong basin... lol

I always have wondered why atolls occur with so much greater frequency in the Pacific than in the Atlantic...


It has to do with the formation of atolls: An island volcano forms and the coral reefs around it form a sort of barrier around the island, even reaching above the surface. When the top of the volcano becomes submerged due to erosion and inactivity, the coral "atoll" is left behind. The reason that they don't occur in the Atlantic as much is that the Atlantic is a relatively young basin, and there hasn't been much time for a volcano to go through the entirety of that process.
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, Snake. Yep, that was before the ratings kept kids out. I didn't sleep for a month. Everytime I saw something strange growing in the yard, I yanked it out. I had the originial poster that they had in the theaters of Arthur Kennedy running. My older brother put it in my room to scare me. Had it until a few years ago and don't know what happened to it.


That would be a collectable worth something.
I wish I had kept my 1967 Corvette Convertable.
Kevin McCarthy just passed away on 12 Sep 2010,
at the age of 96.

Time to go horizontal, its almost Saturday.
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Quoting RTLSNK:


Grothar, you and I are probably the only two people on the blog that are old enough to remember that movie. :)


Um, I know that movie, and I'm still a teenager... :P
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Cute, Grothar, but wrong basin... lol

I always have wondered why atolls occur with so much greater frequency in the Pacific than in the Atlantic...

The short answer is that there's nearly as many atolls in the Atlantic as in the Pacific, but they're just more localized in the Atlantic.

The slightly longer answer is that the Pacific is about 3 times larger than the Atlantic, so any phenomenon in the Pacific is going to be 2/3 less likely in the Atlantic.

The slightly longer answer than that is that the Atlantic is a relatively young ocean basin, in geographical terms. Granted, we're talking about hundreds of millions of years. But that's the time frame for creating an atoll. The Atlantic has been forming over just a couple of hundred million of years. That's not much time in geography. The Pacific (which is actually a whole bunch of basins crammed together)has had much more time to evolve.
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ck that wave now off Africa.something unprecedented yet to come this year?.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


I remember that duo. Wild seeing the eyes hit the exact same place at the same time of night 3 weeks apart. I hope no place ever has a one-two punch like that again.


I agree 100%. We were in the eye of Frances for 5 hours, 45 minutes. Jeanne was 1 hour, 45. I hate it when the storm comes ashore at night. Much scarier in the dark.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


There are 9 guys that are just sitting there watching the others, but I like the two sets of guys that are jumping 4 stories down each time. :)
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HurricaneTomas's heading turned northward to (9.8degrees north of) NorthEast
from it's previous heading of (8.7degrees north of) dueEast
H.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions decreased to ~11.3mph(~18.2km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~15.3mph(~24.7km/h)
TS.Tomas
5Nov 03amGMT - 17.3n75.5w - 65mph(~104.6km/h) - 989mb - NHC.Adv.#28
5Nov 06amGMT - 17.9n75.3w - 65mph(~104.6km/h) - 989mb - NHC.Adv.#28A
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

Copy&paste 17.3n75.5w, 17.9n75.3w, 18.1n74.9w, 18.8n74.7w, 19.1n74.4w-19.8n74.0w, 19.8n74.0w-20.3n73.8w, 20.3n73.8w-20.4n73.1w, 20.4n73.1w-20.8n72.8w, cri, nca, ngd, 20.8n72.8w-21.84n72.013w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.

Using straightline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~7hours from now to NorthCaicos travelling toward FlamingoPond between Whitby and the airport

^ The northernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.
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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
350. JLPR2
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


ha!
My favorite one is the one sat down chilling while the others move around. xD
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8514
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


Hey, keeper, were you around in the '60's LOL
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Appropriate for tonight's blog. Old song but great in its time.

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Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 169 Comments: 53296
Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


No they are not. That blowup is over Gonaives where heavy rain from a very weak tropical storm Jeanne in 2004 triggered landslides that killed 3,000 people.


Just as an aside, Jeanne smacked me right in the face, as a 120 mph Major. 3 weeks after we were lashed by Frances, for what seemed an eternity.
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Pod people, iPod people, what's the diff?
Other than real pod people are conscious, I mean.
Member Since: August 21, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 4860
Quoting RTLSNK:


Grothar, you and I are probably the only two people on the blog that are old enough to remember that movie. :)


Hey, Snake. Yep, that was before the ratings kept kids out. I didn't sleep for a month. Everytime I saw something strange growing in the yard, I yanked it out. I had the originial poster that they had in the theaters of Kevin McCarthy running. My older brother put it in my room to scare me. Had it until a few years ago and don't know what happened to it.
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Quoting DoverWxwatchter:


No they are not. That blowup is over Gonaives where heavy rain from a very weak tropical storm Jeanne in 2004 triggered landslides that killed 3,000 people.


I fear orographic lifting will once again rear it's ugly head there. Bad news.
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't you remember the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" from 1956?


Grothar, you and I are probably the only two people on the blog that are old enough to remember that movie. :)
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Quoting traumaboyy:


NOT Florida.....You want em moved.....put em in the bayou over next to your house!!


LOL. Good evening TB. Saw you on earlier, but didn't get the chance to say hello. How are ya?
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Quoting caneswatch:


What pod people lol


Don't you remember the movie "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" from 1956?
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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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