Strengthening Tomas headed for the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:27 AM GMT on October 30, 2010

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Tropical Storm Tomas has exploded into existence in spectacular fashion, becoming the nineteenth named storm of this amazingly active 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. I'm reporting to you live from the National Hurricane Center tonight, where forecasters are working hard to stay abreast of Tomas' intensification. Three hurricane specialists are on duty tonight--Dave Roberts, who is handling Tropical Storm Shary, and Robbie Berg and Dan Brown, who are focusing on Tomas. The Hurricane Hunters have just left Tomas, as of 8pm EDT, and they found a significant increase in winds. Winds at their 1500 foot flight level were 70 mph, and surface winds as measured by the SFMR instrument were near 60 mph. This supports an increase in Tomas' winds to 60 mph in tonight's 8pm EDT public advisory. Since this is such a large increase in intensity from what was forecast--Tomas was not supposed to have 60 mph winds for another 24 hours--this necessitates issuance of a special advisory package. A full set of forecast maps, a marine advisory, wind probability forecast, and a discussion just went out to the world. While all this was occurring, several phone calls to Barbados, St. Lucia, and Martinique were made, alerting the islands to the fact that a Hurricane Warning may be required with the 11pm advisory tonight. NHC has both French speaking and Spanish speaking meteorologists on staff that can coordinate with the islands that don't have English as their main language. I listened in on a 5-minute conversation in French between the weather service in Martinique and NHC meteorologist Mike Tichacek, as they discussed when Martinique may want to issue a Hurricane Warning.


Figure 1. Warren VonWerne (right) of CARCAH presents the latest data from the Air Force Hurricane Hunters to hurricane specialist Robbie Berg.

Intensity forecast for Tomas
The forecasters at NHC are puzzling over the latest intensity forecasts for Tomas. The latest intensity forecast from the GFDL, HWRF, and SHIPS models are not that impressive, and they keep Tomas as a strong tropical storm or weak hurricane for the next five days. The wind shear forecast from SHIPS is particularly odd--the latest 18Z forecast predicts high wind shear of 20+ knots beginning Sunday morning, and the previous SHIPS forecast held wind shear below 15 knots for the next five days. The latest runs by the GFS, ECMWF, and UKMET models all show a very favorable environment for intensification over the next five days over the Caribbean, with Tomas positioning itself beneath an upper level high in a light wind shear environment. The best bet is that Tomas will intensify into a major hurricane over the Central Caribbean by early next week.


Figure 2. NHC meteorologist Mike Tichacek discusses the latest intensity forecast for Tomas with the Martinique weather service (in French.) In the background, hurricane specialist Dave Roberts works on advisories for Tropical Storm Shary.

Track forecast for Tomas
After Tomas reaches the central Caribbean 4 - 6 days from now, there are two possible track scenarios depicted by the models--a continued westerly motion towards Nicaragua, or a sharp turn to the north, with a track over Hispaniola or Puerto Rico. Steering currents will be weak, and we'll just have to wait and see how the steering currents evolve.

Tomas' formation location unprecedented this late in the season
Tomas' formation ties 2010 with 1995 and 1887 for 3rd place for most number of named storms in an Atlantic hurricane season. Only 2005 (28 named storms) and 1933 (21 named storms) were busier. Atlantic hurricane records go back to 1851, though there were likely many missed named storms prior to the beginning of satellite coverage in the mid-1960s.

The formation of a tropical storm so far south and east this late in the season is unprecedented in the historical record; no named storm has ever been present east of the Lesser Antilles (60°W) and south of 12°N latitude so late in the year. Hurricane Six of 1896 came close--it was also a tropical storm south of 12°N and east of 60°W on October 29, but nine hours earlier in the day. That storm recurved to the north and missed the Lesser Antilles. Tomas' track through the southern Lesser Antilles so late in the year is unprecedented. There have been only two other tropical storms that formed after October 15 south of 12°N and east of 60°W: Hurricane Jose, which was a tropical storm in that region on October 18, 1999, and Tropical Storm Nicolas, on October 16, 2003. Tomas most reminds me of Hurricane Joan of 1988, which was a tropical storm on October 14 near Tomas' current location, and later strengthened into a Category 4 hurricane that hit Nicaragua.

Another unusual aspect of Tomas' formation is that we now have two simultaneous named storms in the Atlantic Ocean on October 29. There have been only four hurricane seasons since 1851 that have had two simultaneous named storms later in the year. The record was set way back in 1887, when Hurricane Eighteen and Tropical Storm Nineteen were both active on December 8. There were three years that had simultaneous November named storms: 1932, 1961, and 2001.

Next update
I'll have more late Saturday morning.

Jeff Masters

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BARBADOS RECENTLY REPORTED A 10-MINUTE WIND OF 38 MPH...61 KM/HR.
A WIND GUST TO 58 MPH...93 KM/HR...WAS REPORTED ON BARBADOS A
COUPLE OF HOURS AGO.
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...CENTER OF TOMAS WILL PASS NEAR BARBADOS IN THE NEXT FEW HOURS...

2:00 AM AST Sat Oct 30
Location: 12.4N 58.8W
Max sustained: 65 mph
Moving: WNW at 15 mph
Min pressure: 997 mb
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Quoting TampaSpin:


YOu think that means a grabage degree from a wiry kid in 72hrs as well....LOL.....just sayn



Hey you know what? Some people believe there is alien contact in area 51. They sure really believe they know there stuff too, lol.
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425. JLPR2
Quoting TampaSpin:


YOu think that means a grabage degree from a wiry kid in 72hrs as well....LOL.....just sayn


You are going personal now, please drop it.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8747

Jeff, please, all of the islands in the 'Eastern Caribbean', except Martinique and Guadeloupe being French, are English speaking and no need for Spanish at all, and we don't like being clumped in as 'Latin America'.

Thank you.
Dr. Masters was not referring to the "Eastern Caribbean" and also Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico are part of the Caribbean. Aren't they Spanish speaking countries?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Classless and clueless all the same time....with no idea except i'm a Met Student.....So f'n what! He could be correct......but, to tell me i am wrong WHATEVER!



Well have fun, but I'll get the last laugh, just like last time I had people hating me, and my forecasts turned out right. Why is it that so many hate the truth?

I'm just enjoying my learning experience, I'm always ready to learn more, Ive just learned in the world of science we should correct others when they are wrong, while be willing to also take correction when we are wrong. Just sayin...
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Quoting Skyepony:


Tomas is depicted really powerful by the CMC when the ridge breaks down, also shows a weak low sliding across the SE attracting it. Really strong hurricanes make their way north nearly all of the time, especially when they aren't trucking quick west already trapped when they explode. I'm temped to play the odds & say Belize, but then again it has shown too much north component. Tomas isn't one of the these little storms, it wants to get big & make it's way North.


Sky i realize that that larger storms always have a poleward pull to them.......i know that.
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Quoting ryang:
Having some reports of power outages in some areas of the island
The storm is practically on top of Barbados. Gonna be a long night..
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Quoting ryang:
Having some reports of power outages in some areas of the island


Getting close to you. Weather will go downhill from here. Next hr or so, center is just to your ESE.



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417. Skyepony (Mod)
Quoting TampaSpin:




So this trough is going to open up for the south rather from the North as usual.......I don't buy into this this at all.


Tomas is depicted really powerful by the CMC when the ridge breaks down, also shows a weak low sliding across the SE attracting it. Really strong hurricanes make their way north nearly all of the time, especially when they aren't trucking quick west already trapped when they explode. I'm temped to play the odds & say Belize, but then again it has shown too much north component. Tomas isn't one of the these little storms, it wants to get big & make it's way North.
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Quoting Orcasystems:
Off for the night.. you guys have fun

Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
G,night Orca..
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Here is the GFS......

102hrs no trough anywhere.


Ther 24hours later that high is destroyed.....I don't buy it at all
Most Mets believe the guidance models are garbage after 72 hours. It is times like these that has me eying the waste basket myself... Starting with this one...Link
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Maybe you should go back to school yourself.....POOOf!



back to school? I am in college for a meteorology degree at Florida state, and I'm learning from the experts, meanwhile you're poofing me for agreeing with them? Are you sure you still know better?
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TampaSpin has made some valuable contributions to this board, if any of us are really students instead of trying to put him down, why not try to learn from him instead?

Things are pretty uncertain going out past 3-4 days in my opinion.

Mike
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Off for the night.. you guys have fun

Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting TampaSpin:


POOOF......LOL


He may be right, but my goodness he sure does come across in a nasty way doesn't he?
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Quoting TampaSpin:


POOOF......LOL


say poof to the real meteorologists too while you're at it, cause I'm basing my stuff on what they are saying, as a student. Are you sure you know better then them? Just saying man... lol
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408. ryang
Having some reports of power outages in some areas of the island
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406. ryang
Very heavy rain here in Barbados.

Latest 1 AM (5) Oct 30 75 (24) 71 (22) 29.74 (1007) ENE 38mph rain with thunder
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Quoting hydrus:
And again the Earth reminds us that we live here through natures consent...


Agreed! The Earth's power is shown once again. What a display. Puny humans, indeed.
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Gnite all...

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Quoting TampaSpin:




So this trough is going to open up for the south rather from the North as usual.......I don't buy into this this at all.



You can not buy it at all, but maybe its just because you don't understand the science that well. You might want to consider it. Cause its pretty darn clear to me, and I'm a meteorology student. Oh and since that doesn't mean anything, my science is based on all actual meteorologists science too, so your saying they're wrong too.
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Full-screen
Station 41040
NDBC
Location: 14.477N 53.008W
Conditions as of:
Sat, 30 Oct 2010 04:50:00 UTC
Winds: E (80°) at 23.3 kt gusting to 29.1 kt
Atmospheric Pressure: 29.84 in and falling
Air Temperature: 83.3 F
Water Temperature: 83.5 F
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Whoa. I just looked at the Flash tracker for Shary and it says she has winds of 70 mph with gusts to 86! I had no idea she was that strong (or was anyway, at 11PM). I haven't been paying attention to her because of Tomas.
Member Since: July 18, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 399
It has been an enter-at-your-own-risk season.

Put the Rosary Beads away K'Man

Pottery - stay alert


The season has been west for model shifts. - Tomas will be east of models - hopefully east of Hatia


So it is said, so it will be done.
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Tomas looks like a peak September TC.
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Quoting TampaSpin:


Not sure that front will come. Look at the Model loops....they almost open up from the South. I don't like the Models as they will be changing.


Wrong. You are misreading the models, since when do those maps indicate frontal zones?

See the big red mass heading south from the northern U.S. in all of those model loops? Yeah, that's a huge fall canadian high headed south following the passage of a front.

The obvious and logical paths for Tomas include either getting picked up by the trough if its strong enough, and swung northward and then northeast. Or the trough will miss Tomas and he will be steered west towards central america, either way, both are terrible predicaments.

But to indicate Tomas is any threat to the U.S. just doesn't make any sense.

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Here is the GFS......

102hrs no trough anywhere.


Ther 24hours later that high is destroyed.....I don't buy it at all
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If that strong front stalls, Thomas will escape through that northen path that Shary opened....

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CQ barbados any reports out there
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And again the Earth reminds us that we live here through natures consent...
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So this trough is going to open up for the south rather from the North as usual.......I don't buy into this this at all.
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Quoting TampaSpin:
The main Low for the Trough never even makes into the ConUs. It stays in Canada. I don't believe the trough will be like the models are suggesting currently. Heck the trough does not even exist until the Ohio valley and then swoops to the East Coast. We will see by Sunday what a difference the models will bring.
I saw where you posted earlier that Tomas may be a problem for the N Gulf Coast. What makes you say that?
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Quoting TampaSpin:
The main Low for the Trough never even makes into the ConUs. It stays in Canada. I don't believe the trough will be like the models are suggesting currently. Heck the trough does not even exist until the Ohio valley and then swoops to the East Coast. We will see by Sunday what a difference the models will bring.


I noticed on the CMC, that all of a sudden, there was a trough.
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Huge thunderstorm blowing up over the center..
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The main Low for the Trough never even makes into the ConUs. It stays in Canada. I don't believe the trough will be like the models are suggesting currently. Heck the trough does not even exist until the Ohio valley and then swoops to the East Coast. We will see by Sunday what a difference the models will bring.
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385. Skyepony (Mod)
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382. Skyepony (Mod)
Looking over the 1st 24hr of error on Tomas models was a bit shocking. Even on the 1st run models don't usually over all do that poorly. Worse was OFCL came in 2nd to last overall the models.. & FOr reasons I discussed the other morning.. no suprise.. CMC on top..

Average Position Error (nm) for core models
model Error Trend 24hr Error 48hr Error 72hr Error Day 4 Error Day 5 Error
CMC CONSTANT 36.9 -1 -1 -1 -1
HWRF INCREASING 79.8 215.6 102.2 -1 -1
LBAR INCREASING 107.6 178.3 204.1 -1 -1
BAMD INCREASING 144.1 250.4 315.2 -1 -1
MM5B DECREASING 167.2 144.3 114.4 -1 -1
GFDL CONSTANT 281.1 -1 -1 -1 -1
MM5E CONSTANT 285.8 -1 -1 -1 -1
KHRM CONSTANT 321.9 -1 -1 -1 -1
OFCL CONSTANT 329.9 -1 -1 -1 -1

I still think it has a good chance to eventually be swept NNE, if that's over Hispaniola, Jamaica & Cuba or farther west, we'll have to see.
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Quoting sunlinepr:


Not sure that front will come. Look at the Model loops....they almost open up from the South. I don't like the Models as they will be changing.
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T.C.F.W
21L/H/T/C1
MARK
12.55n/59.25w
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A little south from the advisory but, that map was created before the Nward reform of the center. NHC adjusted but track reasoning remained the same.
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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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