The track has stayed the same, but what TOMAS will be is still uncertain.

I have been amazed at the accuracy of hurricane track forecasts over the past few years. The effect of atmospheric variations in and around tropical systems can be seen when comparing the variations in the tracks forecast by the computer models. We have seen how most of them have been aiming TOMAS in the direction of Haiti for the past five days.

It’s forecasting the intensity of a system like TOMAS that continues to baffle forecasters. What was at one time predicted to become a category 3 hurricane in the central Caribbean was only a tropical depression at midday (Wednesday) today, and at 5 PM is barely returning to tropical storm status. Between encounters with drier (less moist) regions in the lower troposphere, and by passing under changing upper level wind patterns, the volatile status of TOMAS now appears to be on a strengthening trend through Friday. As tropical storm TOMAS becomes a hurricane while approaching Haiti, it is not expected to be as severe as we had feared earlier.

But with winds of minimal hurricane force and torrential rains pounding this mountainous region, flooding can be a very serious problem for the residents of Haiti.



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