Talking Tomas and Scary Shary

We currently have two storms in the Atlantic, both of which are hurricanes. It’s October 30th…this is just slightly bizarre. According to Dr. Jeff Masters, this is the second latest point in the hurricane season we’ve ever had two hurricanes at once in the Atlantic (at least in the historical record). The latest was November 7-10, 1932.

Hurricane Shary

Shary is a weak category 1 storm (75 mph winds), and is currently beginning the transition to a non-tropical storm. Shary will continue to race toward Europe, likely bringing them a significant storm sometime this coming week. This will probably be the last we hear about Shary.

Hurricane Tomas

Radar Image From Meteo France of Hurricane Tomas near St. Vincent

Tomas is not quite as simple. We talked about the threat to the bigger islands later this coming week, but as you can see from the radar image from Meteo France to the left, Tomas is clearly bearing down on the smaller islands now. The current advisory as of 2 PM Atlantic Standard Time has Tomas as a 75 mph hurricane, near St. Vincent or about 25 miles south of St. Lucia. The pressure is still 992 mb, so we’re not looking at a very deep storm right now. This is just the humble beginnings.

Tomas will continue across the Caribbean, gradually building strength (the current NHC official forecast is for a 115 mph major hurricane by Tuesday night or Wednesday morning). And as you can see from the track forecast, it looks like the brakes get put on somewhere southeast of Jamaica and south of Haiti. As it either gets caught in a squeeze play..or the models are having issues resolving what’s next.

Morning Models Forecast Spaghetti Track of Hurricane Tomas from the South Florida Water Management District

Either way, this will likely be a prolific rain maker in some parts of the Caribbean and should it start to pull north late in the period, could be, again, a real serious blow to Haiti.

But another aspect that’s interesting regarding Tomas, is how it might interact with whatever system develops in the East next week. Just looking at new model data rolling in, the GFS is interesting, in that it it brings one storm up well into Northern New England on Thursday and Friday, with the potential for snow well north into Maine and Quebec, but the possibility of lake effect snow into New York and upslope snow in Vermont on the backside. It then takes a second storm out of the Gulf and up the East Coast, pretty far offshore and into Eastern New England, Maine, and the Canadian Maritimes. This storm would grab Tomas and inject it right into the system, so it would be very moist and potentially very strong (ironic as we’re celebrating the 19th anniversary of the “Perfect Storm” today).

The new European model coming in leaves Tomas behind in the Caribbean, but opens up a moisture plume all the way down there. So the storm deepens, but actually tracks up the Appalachians and west of Buffalo into Lake Huron. This would bring heavy snow potentially to parts of Michigan, and a heck of a lot of rain to parts of the East Coast and New England.

What does this mean? It means there is a LOT of uncertainty next week, and now that we know we have an organized tropical system possibly getting involved, well…that certainly makes the whole pattern more intriguing. It is interesting to note however that this European model solution has some similarities to the Canadian model we also look at. I’ll be watching this over the coming days.

Last item of note, a friend of mine at the NWS has helped put together what’s essentially a Bible of NWS lingo, products, items, places, services, as well as severe weather, safety, and much more. It’s a must bookmark and/or print for any meteorologist or serious weather enthusiast. Check it out here.


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