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07 November 2010

Tomas Wrap-Up

Despite regaining hurricane status recently, Tomas is no longer a threat to land. Tomas formed to the east of the Lesser Antilles. Hurricane force winds (more than 75 mph or 120 km/h) were felt on Saint Vincent with tropical storm force (more than 35 mph or 55 km/h) winds as far north as Guadeloupe and as far south as Grenada. The worst damage so far in the Lesser Antilles is on St. Lucia, where landslides and flooding have destroyed infrastructure. Saint Vincent lost much of it's banana crop, the main export of the island. I'm having some trouble determining if there were any fatalities outside of Saint Lucia, but at the moment it looks like there were twelve on that island and none anywhere else.

As it passed the Netherland Antilles and other islands off the coast of South America, Tomas caused heavy rains and flooding. One fatality is reported here. In Central America 22 deaths are blamed on Tomas, although I'm not sure the flooding and landslides in Costa Rica are related to Tomas. From what I can tell there was a strong tropical wave in the area that resulted in heavy rainfall on the Pacific side. Tomas wasn't even close to the area at the time. The same wave killed two people in Panama.

After passing the ABC Islands, Tomas turned northward towards Jamaica, Cuba and Haiti. Heavy rainfall blanketed Jamaica, but winds remained below tropical storm force except around Morant Point, on the far eastern tip of the island. Cuba's Guantánamo province did experience heavy rains and winds up to 50 mph or 80 km/h. Damage here, like Jamaica was limited although there is some localized flooding being reported.

In Haiti, winds topped out at hurricane force in the western tip of Grand'Anse and Sud Departments. All departments experienced flooding and winds in excess of 35 mph or 55 km/h. Numerous landslides occurred in the central mountainous parts of the country. Flooding did occur in the Port-au-Prince area, especially in the areas where tent and tarp homes have been set up as shelters for the victims of the earthquake. Several of the Port-au-Prince slums also flooded. The additional standing water is expected to aggravate the cholera outbreak, as well as increase the presence of other water borne diseases. The standing water will also will likely spread malaria as mosquitoes will now have more places to lay their eggs. While the current death toll in Haiti stands at  7 persons, indirect deaths will almost certainly be higher.

The Turks and Caicos have also been battered by Tomas, with high winds and heavy rainfall. Currently no significant damage and no deaths are being blamed on the storm in the Turks and Caicos.

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