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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

04 November 2010

Tomas: Good News and Bad News

So lets start with the good news. Tomas is now most likely going to miss Haiti and move between Hispaniola and Cuba instead of making landfall. The forecast track has continued to shift westward. As a result the US weather service has issued Tropical Storm Warnings for all of Jamaica, which is now experiencing the first rain-bands. A Tropical Storm Watch has been issued for eastern sections of Cuba, from Marea del Portillo eastward and around to the north side of the island to Playa La Playita. Strong winds (over to 35 mph or 55 km/h), heavy rain, and rough surf are likely to impact these areas. Damage to infrastructure should be limited.

The bad news is that Tomas is strengthening, and is expected to continue strengthening for the next 24 hours. It is possible that the storm could achieve hurricane status (75 mph or 120 km/h winds) as it passes Haiti. Hurricane Warnings have been issued for all of Haiti and all of the Turks and Caicos. Additionally a strip of land in southwestern Dominican Republic, from the border with Haiti to around Barahona, is now under a Tropical Storm Watch.

As this system passes expect flooding across much of Haiti, especially in the more mountainous parts of the country, the central departments north of Port-au-Prince are likely to be the most impacted. Unfortunately this includes many of the areas already contending with the cholera outbreak. Damage to infrastructure and urban flooding in Haiti's cities is also a possibility. Similar impacts are possible in the Turks and Caicos Islands. Cuba and Jamaica will not be as affected.

Right now rain is falling across the southern peninsula of Haiti. At around 2 am tonight (local time) the storm will be at its closest to the southern peninsula. At around noon tomorrow the storm should pass it's closest to the northern peninsula. Tomas should clear the Turks and Caicos at around 2 am Saturday morning.

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