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It is a very busy day in the Atlantic today with two simultaneous hurricanes on the charts right at the end of October, which is quite a feat. Shary is recurving out and weakening but Tomas is slowly strengthening as he enters the Caribbean. He is just now starting to cross the southern Antilles Islands, bringing nasty weather to St. Vincent and St. Lucia right now. The core structure still needs lots of work, as convection hasn't built tightly all the way around the center yet. Slow organization is expected with a storm this large, and overall the presentation is extremely impressive for a storm at this time of year, especially east of the islands.
Slow intensification should continue until Tomas develops a solid core with an eye, but once that happens we could see some more rapid strengthening. I believe this will eventually become a major hurricane somewhere south of Jamaica and Hispaniola. Strangely enough, none of the global models really agree. The GFS does strengthen Tomas a little bit, but the ECMWF, CMC, NOGAPS, and UKMET are rather unenthusiastic. One can hope that they are seeing something, but I believe Tomas will indeed strengthen into a powerful storm. The video illustrates some of my reasons with pattern comparisons to a time earlier this season.
The track reasoning remains exactly the same as it has been for weeks, that Tomas will continue WNW into the Caribbean, likely turning more towards the west as ridging builds north of the storm, and then stalling in the central Caribbean as a trough dives into the eastern US. This trough should eventually draw Tomas north or northeastward across the northern Caribbean islands and entrain the storm. This is a situation that the big Caribbean islands should be monitoring very closely, as there is a good possibility that they will be facing a major hurricane trying to recurve in the vicinity of eastern Cuba, Jamaica, or Hispaniola later next week. This kind of a situation loves to unfold at the end of big La Nina seasons, and folks should be preparing right now.
We shall see what happens!
Hurricane Tomas Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Hurricane Tomas Track Models:
Caribbean/East Pacific Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Central Atlantic Visible/IR2 Satellite (click image for loop):
Atlantic Tropical Surface Analysis:
200mb Vertical Velocity (green areas represent upward motion associated with the MJO):
The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.