Colleagues, FORECAST: Tropical Storm TOMAS has formed just east of the Leeward Islands. Maximum Sustained Winds (msw) are 70 mph and TOMAS will become HURRICANE TOMAS over night. Movement is WNW and it is basically headed for now toward Jamaica. Over the next next week, expect steady strengthening of the Hurricane. TOMAS will pass south of Puerto Rico and just south of Hispaniola. There is no way for Haiti to be spared at least rain and strong winds. This will be mid to latter part of next week. At that point their will be a movement to the north ... or not.
DISCUSSION: This hurricane has the potential to make landfall in the USA early next week. The movement and intensity (strengthening) through most of this upcoming week are clear. A trough will be leaving the scene, and a ridge will be building in it's place, creating generally WNW movement, and strengthening. However, a new trough will be entering the scene mid to late next week and control of the steering flow will ensue. At this point, it could turn north around eastern Haiti, or continue WNW toward Jamaica, or veer to the south toward the Yucatan Channel. The better models have not given much credit to the encroaching trough. Not sure why and will be looking more closely at that over the weekend. At this point, there is the possibility that this storm could get into the Gulf, but it is too early with this uncertainty (at this point) of what will happen in 5 days from now. At this juncture, I see it moving westward a few days longer into next weekend, and then turning north, but that is based on some speculation on data that is not yet available.
Elsewhere in the US, weather is seasonal, with no weather threats. Colder weather is invading the southeast with temperatures now in the low 40s (morning temperature) but getting up to a beautiful lower 70s today. High 70s today in north Florida to low 80s in the south today. Beautiful day. No rain in Florida or the Southeast.
NEXT FORECAST: Sunday morning
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Peter S. Ray
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