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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Quoting mbjjm:

Lots of roofs blown off in Barbados

Live radio from Barbados

Thanks for the link! wow they are lucky it's only a trop storm/cat1
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NHC stubborn with track Tomas to be closer to PR than Jamaica
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Quoting mbjjm:

Lots of roofs blown off in Barbados

Live radio from Barbados

Thanks for this link. Seems like lots of damage on the Island. They are saying it has gotten rally bad in the past 15 min. Lady just called seemed to be trapped in house and could no get thru to emergency personnel. Lots of large trees down. Interesting listening
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Good Morning All....I see Tomas made some big changes in the last 9 hours or so....hot sun down here...how is barbados holding up?
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Quoting Neapolitan:
This morning's random thought:

With Shary's improbable rise to hurricane status and the near certainty of Tomas' making it there, that will mean there have been five consecutive hurricanes beginning with Otto. I haven't done an exhaustive search, but a cursory glance shows that's a relatively infrequent occurrence, though not quite a rarity. It happened most recently in 1998 (six in a row, from Ivan through Nicole) and 2005 (Maria through Rita). There were also five consecutive hurricanes in the very active years of 1887 and 1933.

What sets 2010 apart from those other years, however, is that this year's five in a row took place in October, whereas the others were closer to the climatological "peak" of the season: 8/14-9/18 for 1887, 8/28—9/25 in 1933, 9/19—12/1 in 1998, and 9/2—9/24 in 2005. (Note that 1998's six took nearly two-and-a-half months to finish)

To summarize a key point: all five of this October's TCs became (or shortly will have become) hurricanes, and that appears to have never happened before (though I'll keep checking).


And we are not done... if the next storm rises to that Hurricane status again it will be 6 in a row
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guys Tomas's eye is shrinking on radar
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571. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Hurricane hunters found a minimum pressure of 992mb so far in Tomas.
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another one behind tomas?
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568. JRRP
NGP 06Z
Link
similar to
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
All the weather stations in Barbados stopped transmitting data. The last one just stopped 4min ago.
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Good Morning...

Interesting... HURR Shary.
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565. mbjjm
Barbados now reporting 56mph gusts,sustained 35mph

METAR TBPB 301100Z 18030G49KT 0500 RA BKN008CB BKN010 25/25 Q1001 NOSIG
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564. SLU
METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES, ( M. C. W. T. & P. U. )
************************************************************
HEWANORRA METEOROLOGICAL OFFICE, VIEUX FORT, ST.LUCIA.
************************************************************

6:00 AM...DATE...OCTOBER 30, 2010...FORECASTER....HERBERT REGIS.

PRESENT WEATHER AT HEWANORRA.....OVERCAST WITH LIGHT RAIN.
AT GFL CHARLES...OVERCAST WITH HEAVY SHOWERS.
PRESENT TEMPERATURE AT HEWANORRA....25 C OR 77 F.
LAST NIGHT'S MINIMUM TEMPERATURE AT HEWANORRA...24 C OR 76 F.
WIND AT HEWANORRA IS BLOWING FROM THE EAST AT 28 MPH OR
43 KM/H.
24 HOUR RAINFALL ENDED AT 2:00 AM AT HEWANORRA.....13.5 MM.

SUNSET TODAY...5:42 PM.....SUNRISE TOMORROW.....6:02 AM.

WAVE AND SWELL HEIGHTS RECORDED 4 MILES OR 6 KM NORTH OF ST. LUCIA.
*******************************************************************
AVERAGE HEIGHT IN THE PAST 3 HOURS.......6.6 FEET OR 2.3 METRES.
MAXIMUM HEIGHT IN THE PAST 6 HOURS.......12.9 FEET OR 3.9 METRES.

FORECAST FOR SAINT LUCIA VALID FOR THE NEXT 24 HOURS.
*****************************************************
WINDS.....EASTERLY AT 18 TO 38 MPH? OR 29 TO 59 KM/H.
WEATHER...CLOUDY TO OVERCAST SKIES WITH MODERATE TO HEAVY SHOWERS,
THUNDERSTORMS AND GUSTY WINDS.

MARINE FORECAST FOR SEAS IN A 25 MILE OR 40 KM RADIUS FROM ST. LUCIA.
*********************************************************************
TIDES FOR CASTRIES HARBOUR....HIGH AT 9:02 AM...LOW AT 1:40 PM.
TIDES FOR VIEUX FORT BAY.....HIGH AT 10:09 AM...LOW AT 3:07 PM.
SEAS..ROUGH WITH WAVES 10 TO 12 FEET OR 3.0 TO 3.7 METRES. SMALL
CRAFT OPERATORS SHOULD REMAIN IN PORT.


OUTLOOK FOR THE LESSER ANTILLES.
********************************
CLOUDY TO OVERCAST SKIES WITH MODERATE TO HEAVY SHOWERS,
THUNDERSTORMS AND GUSTY WINDS.

TROPICAL WEATHER OUTLOOK.
*************************
ADVISORIES ON TROPICAL STORM TOMAS ARE BEING ISSUED BY THIS
OFFICE.

I think I will apply for a job at the local weather service. They are very poor in forecasting the weather and fail to adequately warn the public of the dangers that exists with these systems at times.
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563. JRRP
Quoting barbadosjulie:
Severe wind and rain has began again...lots of trees down. Power out....

eye wall
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562. mbjjm

Lots of roofs blown off in Barbados

Live radio from Barbados
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Quoting barbadosjulie:
Severe wind and rain has began again...lots of trees down. Power out....

wow, yeah we can see the eye has passed over and you are now to the east of it. In a way you are lucky that the storm is just ramping up. Thank your lucky stars! and stay safe. Things should get better soon!
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Good morning Tomas would you like a cup of coffee.
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Severe wind and rain has began again...lots of trees down. Power out....
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Quoting Cat5hit:


LOL... I got a bunch of that in the yard. Hopefully A storm doesn't come through otherwise it will spread throughout the neighborhood.
Link
Here's one for ya "cat poop causes hookworm epedemic on Miami Beach". The chamber of commerce will not be happy if they read this. This is an isolated area.
Tomas' first visible !!!
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Hurricane Hunters just west of Saint Lucia heading SSE. Surface winds from the NE at 39mph
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Quoting JRRP:
eye ???
13.3n
59.9w


Aye.
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553. JRRP
eye ???
13.3n
59.9w
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Quoting Cat5hit:
I am beginning to think that I should change the handle...

A nail biter Tomas is...

Nah its a good name, as I mentioned I wasn't wearing my glasses. OK how about dog5hit?... lol.
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Quoting wunderkidcayman:
hey 954FtLCanecan you post the link to that radar

Link
Here ya geaux!
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hey 954FtLCanecan you post the link to that radar
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Quoting Cat5hit:
Meow. Shary is a Hurricane? I thought she was going to dissipate?

Appears Tomas is moving a little more north than expected. I still don't think the models have a good handle on him just yet. Good thing we have competent forecasters on this. (and some incompetent ones keeping them in check)

OMG I don't have my glasses on and I read your name and said to myself "self how did wunderground allow such a name like catpoop on here".
back to weather, the models may not have a good read on Tomas but the NHC has shown time & time again this season to have a good read through the first 3 days at the least.
That being said things don't bode well for Haiti but it looks like Jamaica is in better shape than it was before but all of that is still over 5 days out.
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546. JRRP
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984

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This morning's random thought:

With Shary's improbable rise to hurricane status and the near certainty of Tomas' making it there, that will mean there have been five consecutive hurricanes beginning with Otto. I haven't done an exhaustive search, but a cursory glance shows that's a relatively infrequent occurrence, though not quite a rarity. It happened most recently in 1998 (six in a row, from Ivan through Nicole) and 2005 (Maria through Rita). There were also five consecutive hurricanes in the very active years of 1887 and 1933.

What sets 2010 apart from those other years, however, is that this year's five in a row took place in October, whereas the others were closer to the climatological "peak" of the season: 8/14-9/18 for 1887, 8/28—9/25 in 1933, 9/19—12/1 in 1998, and 9/2—9/24 in 2005. (Note that 1998's six took nearly two-and-a-half months to finish)

To summarize a key point: all five of this October's TCs became (or shortly will have become) hurricanes, and that appears to have never happened before (though I'll keep checking).
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Good night guys. Stay safe all of you in the islands. And keep us updated!
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Thanks for the update at this late hour, Kori. You dah man! So to speak. :)
Ok, I'm gettin' punchy. I'm off to bed. Stay safe all of you in harm's way.
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539. SLU
Quoting barbadosjulie:
Thanks for the advice...my household ready, I just hope the others are.. :(


I hope so too!
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Thanks for the advice...my household ready, I just hope the others are.. :(
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People I spoke to hear were taking it pretty seriously but some had only heard about it yesterday afternoon so little time to prepare properly, of course in theory we should all be prepared the whole season but in reality lots thought it was all over for the year.
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535. SLU
Quoting barbadosjulie:
Slu...most of christ church power is out...the winds died down a bit but have now picked up again...I'm using my phone as I also have no electricity...reports are in that roofs are off and someone lost a verandah. Rain has subsided for now


Ok. Stay safe. Part 2 of a hurricane is always the stronger phase and this should begin to affect you guys shortly. It looks like St. Lucia might get the brunt of the system though. I'm in Trinidad now which was initially threatened and persons here did take the warnings seriously enough. However, in St. Lucia, most people seem to be unaware of the situation that it developing this morning and very few if any preparations have been made. Worse yet, it's the annual Creole Day celebrations so many people are actually in a festive mood this weekend. It's basically too late to do anything now since the winds are beginning to increase there already and the radar shows that some awful weather is approaching.
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Thanks Grenada
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TropicalStormTomas's heading turned northward to (8.9degrees west of) NorthWest
from its previous heading of (4.5degrees north of) West NorthWest
TS.Tomas's average speed moving between its last 2 reported positions increased to ~19.3mph(~31.1km/h) from its previous travel speed of ~10mph(~16.1km/h)
Invest91L
29Oct 06amGMT - - 9.3n53.7w - 30knots(~55.6km/h) - 1006mb - ATCF
TropicalDepression21
29Oct 12pmGMT - 10.0n55.3w - 30knots(~55.6km/h) - 1003mb - ATCF
TS.Thomas
29Oct 06pmGMT - 10.8n56.8w - 35knots(~64.8km/h) - - 998mb - ATCF
29Oct 09pmGMT - 11.1n57.5w - 40mph(~64.4km/h) - . - 998mb - NHC.Adv.#1
30Oct 12amGMT - 11.6n57.6w - 60mph(~96.6km/h) - . - 999mb - NHC.Adv.#2
30Oct 03amGMT - 12.2n58.4w - 65mph(~104.5km/h) - - 997mb - NHC.Adv.#3
30Oct 06amGMT - 12.4n58.8w - 65mph(~104.5km/h) - - 997mb - NHC.Adv.#3A
30Oct 09amGMT - 12.9n59.5w - 70mph(~112.7km/h) - - 994mb - NHC.Adv.#4

Copy&paste 9.3n53.7w, 10.0n55.3w, 10.8n56.8w, 11.1n57.5w-11.6n57.6w, 11.6n57.6w-12.2n58.4w, 12.2n58.4w-12.4n58.8w, 12.4n58.8w-12.9n59.5w, bla, fdf, 12.9n59.5w-13.888n60.89w into the GreatCircleMapper for a look at the headings and the distances traveled over the last 12^hours.

Using straighline projection upon the speed&heading averaged
over the 3hours spanning the last two reported positions:
~5&1/2 hours from now to AnseCanot,St.Lucia

^ The westernmost line-segment is the straightline projection.
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Julie stay safe.... good luck to your and your Island, my heart goes out to you.
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531. JRRP

north
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 5984
Slu...most of christ church power is out...the winds died down a bit but have now picked up again...I'm using my phone as I also have no electricity...reports are in that roofs are off and someone lost a verandah. Rain has subsided for now
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529. SLU
Quoting barbadosjulie:
So we still in for another set of pounding...


Hi Julie. What is the situation with Tomas in Barbados? Any damage? How strong are the winds?
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528. JRRP
no puedo dormir sabiendo que hay un ciclon amenazandonos
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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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