Omar intensifies to Category 3, but mostly spares the Lesser Antilles

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 2:39 PM GMT on October 16, 2008

Hurricane Omar blasted through the Lesser Antilles last night, intensifying into a Category 3 hurricane as it accelerated to the northeast. Fortunately, the eye missed all the islands, as the storm passed through the narrow Anedega Passage between the Virgin Islands and Anguilla. However, the western eyewall did pass over the eastern tip of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands (Figure 1), bringing hurricane-force winds there. A Personal Weather Station at the Buccaneer Resort on the northeast coast of St. Croix recorded sustained winds of 80 mph at a height of 110 feet. Rainfall there was 6.28" on Thursday, and 9.11" so far today, for a storm total of 15.39". Other wind measurements and total rainfall for the past two days from Omar:

St. Croix airport 39 mph, gusting to 58 mph, 4.56"
Limetree Bay, south side of St. Croix 51 mph, gusting to 71 mph
Limetree Bay CMAN station, St. Croix 53 mph
St. Maartin airport 45 mph, gusting to 67 mph, 7.02"
Anguilla West End Personal Weather Station 45 mph, gusting to 69 mph, 2.88" (elevation 45 feet)

Buoy 41140 (north side of St. Croix, water depth 85 feet) reported 15 foot waves at the time of eyewall passage. The buoy's anemometer was inoperative.


Figure 1. Radar image of Hurricane Omar as its west eyewall passed over the eastern tip of St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. At the time, Omar was a Category 3 hurricane with 120 mph winds.

Omar in historical perspective
Omar is an unusual hurricane in several respects. It's one of only four hurricanes to affect the Lesser Antilles Islands so late in the season. The only hurricanes that occurred later were the Category 3 1867 hurricane that hit Puerto Rico, and two 1999 storms, Category 2 Jose and famed Category 4 "Wrong-way Lenny". Lenny was the only west-to-east moving hurricane on record to affect the Lesser Antilles. Omar's northeasterly motion is highly unusual as well, and I couldn't find any similar storms in the historical record except Lenny.

Omar is headed out to sea and should not affect any other land areas. Steady weakening is forecast, due to increasing wind shear and cooler sea surface temperatures.


Figure 2. Tracks of all October or later hurricanes to affect the northern Lesser Antilles Islands. Light red tracks indicate a minor hurricane, and dark red tracks are for a major hurricane. Image credit: NOAA Coastal Services Center.

Elsewhere in the tropics
Tropical Depression 16 moved ashore over northern Honduras yesterday and dissipated. However, moisture from the depression remains over the region, which could see additional heavy rains of 2-4 inches today. It is possible that the remains of TD 16 could move over the Eastern Pacific and regenerate into a tropical storm. Both the GFDL and UKMET models have indicated this possibility in recent runs.

No computer models are forecasting tropical cyclone development in the Atlantic over the next seven days.

Hurricane Ike relief efforts
There continues to be an urgent need for relief supplies in the wake of Hurricane Ike. I recommend contributions to the portlight.org charity fund, formed by wunderground members to serve the needs of those often bypassed by traditional relief efforts. Contributions are fully tax-deductible, and more details can be found at StormJunkie's blog.

I'll have an update Friday morning.
Jeff Masters

ts omar aruba (nibiru)
ts omar aruba

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 131 - 81

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

131. Cotillion
6:01 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Yes, the Scale does need to be adjusted and/or replaced altogether.

Either to include more information (such as wind field radius) or simply to correlate all the aspects of a hurricane into a simple to understand warning system.

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
129. c93
5:57 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
yeah i think the scale should be revised too, i think it should be on a scale of 1-10
you add the category of the wind speeds and the category of surge, etc. and you get a number form one to ten
for example- Ike cat 2. winds+ cat 4 surge= 6
and that way it is more accurate of the total power of the system
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
128. listenerVT
5:54 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Images of Omar Lashing Curacao!!!
http://www.versgeperst.com/?p=401


Thanks Alan23!! Those are incredible photos!
Amazing waves...so much debris.

Couldn't believe I saw lawn chairs left out in one.
I guess they didn't get much warning.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
127. pottery
1:49 PM AST on October 16, 2008
A general note.
Nearly all of the towns, and the harbours and docks, in these islands are on the west side of the island. Most of the tourist facilities as well. Large waves from the west as in Omar are terrible, as they produce damage to major infrastructure. Obviously, this affects tourism, the main economy in most of the islands.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
126. NEwxguy
1:53 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
Get rid of all the invests and this place becomes very quiet
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
125. SunKissed
5:50 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
MichaelSTL- I totally agree with you. I sincerely believe that with a different scale we would have had far less people missing than we do right now in Texas. I was sitting waiting to go out right after the hurricane (I am response) and I could not believe my eyes of what was going on 12 hours before landfall. Talk about a pit in your stomach...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
124. pottery
1:47 PM AST on October 16, 2008
STL, I agree with you on the scale revision thing. That should become a priority with the powers-that-be.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
123. pottery
1:46 PM AST on October 16, 2008
Reports from the affected islands at-

www.stormcarib.com
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
121. pottery
1:38 PM AST on October 16, 2008
Islandblow. Not so much sea-surge, as storm generated waves, from the "wrong" direction too.
Hope you guys can get things back to normal as soon as the waves stop.
Good luck there.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
120. listenerVT
5:39 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting islandblow:
The sea surge seems to be the most damaging aspect of this hurricane. Dominica, so far south, is still being affected by the tail of Omar. There is damage all along the west coast. I was down on the waterfront of the capital, Roseau, a moment ago and the swells are washing over the bayfront seriously damaging the cruise ship pier and surging through the ferry terminal. Lots of fishing boats are destroyed and several houses in the coastal villages destroyed or damaged. News is worse from the islands further north such as St. Kitts.


Holding you all in the Light.
Thank-you for posting the news.
Please take care. ♥
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
119. npenta519
5:30 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting conchygirl:
Please no storms in the Western Caribbean - we are heading on a cruise there week after next. I know, how selfish can I get!


Ditto: Leaving for Miami on Monday.

Selfish, maybe, but I prefer not to be seasick in 30 foot waves :-D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
118. Hurricane4Lex
5:34 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
that leads me to believe that the SS system should be changed cause TS's and even TD's and can be every destructive if they stay stationary at a certain place and dont get me started on size and strength that's to be saved for another time cause I gotta go cyalllater ^_^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
117. Alan23
5:35 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Images of Omar Lashing Curacao!!!
http://www.versgeperst.com/?p=401
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
116. pottery
1:34 PM AST on October 16, 2008
Yeah, all in all, it has been a season filled with surprises and "what-if's "
6 more weeks to go ? Huh! Still some potential I guess, the Trop. Atl is looking possible all the time, and the west carib sea too.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
114. islandblow
5:31 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
The sea surge seems to be the most damaging aspect of this hurricane. Dominica, so far south, is still being affected by the tail of Omar. There is damage all along the west coast. I was down on the waterfront of the capital, Roseau, a moment ago and the swells are washing over the bayfront seriously damaging the cruise ship pier and surging through the ferry terminal. Lots of fishing boats are destroyed and several houses in the coastal villages destroyed or damaged. News is worse from the islands further north such as St. Kitts.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
113. homelesswanderer
12:25 PM CDT on October 16, 2008
Quoting pottery:
Yeah, Homeless. Got real strong, real fast.
There was a point yesterday when I felt ( in spite of the forecasts ) that it would remain a small Cat1, due to the shear and dry air to its N/W.
Omar shrugged that off like nothing....
They definitely have a mind of their own. Although he didnt get near as strong (thank goodness)reminds me of Humberto who wasnt supposed to be anything really and woke up to a Cat 1 in the middle of the night. Thatll get your attention.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
112. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
5:20 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
JOINT TYPHOON WARNING CENTER
TROPICAL CYCLONE FORMATION ALERT
WTXS21
OCTOBER 16 2008

An area of convection (94S - RSMC 02R) located at 5.8N 68.7E or 225 NM west-northwest of Diego Garcia. Animated infrared satellite imagery depicts improved organization over the past 12 hours with convection becoming less sheared and starting to wrap into the low level circulation center. A 1400z SSMI image shows a well defined low level circulation center with improved and more intense convective banding. A 0421z ASCAT Pass indicated 25-30 knot unflagged winds near the center and a tightly wrapped low level circulation center. The LLCC remains under the northwestern periphery of an upper level anticyclone, but has tracked west-southwest into a more favorable environment with a slight decrease in vertical wind shear (20-30kts). Overall, the environment is favorable for further development with good outflow and warm sea surface temperatures.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 25-30 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1001 MB. The potential for this system to develop into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is UPGRADED TO GOOD.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
111. pottery
1:31 PM AST on October 16, 2008
As it was, there have been reports for a week, from Barbados in the East, through the islands all the way to PR, of exceptional rainfall.
And its still raining all across the carib. Islands........
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
110. Hurricane4Lex
5:30 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Imagine if Gustav had not lingered a bit in the GOM it would have been much stronger at land fall and also those TCHP numbers would have been much higher for Ike to get stronger IMO
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
109. pottery
1:28 PM AST on October 16, 2008
OK, STL......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
108. Cotillion
5:27 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting MichaelSTL:


Actually, we have surpassed 2004... I am also tiered of seeing people say that it could have been worse... so what? 2005 could have been worse too...


No we haven't.

3,000 deaths in 2004. Nearly 60 billion damage.

1,000 or so in 2008. 55 billion damage, estimated.

Yes all seasons could've been worse. But there's little wrong in being thankful for small mercies. Especially those that have happened more than once.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
107. pottery
1:24 PM AST on October 16, 2008
True, Cotillion.
Imagine if Omar had sat still for 5 days, over an island, instead of over the open sea like it did.
I wonder how much rain actually fell, north of the ABC Islands.......
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
105. Cotillion
5:26 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting pottery:
Yeah, Homeless. Got real strong, real fast.
There was a point yesterday when I felt ( in spite of the forecasts ) that it would remain a small Cat1, due to the shear and dry air to its N/W.
Omar shrugged that off like nothing....


Well, what might've happened if there was no dry air or shear to speak of? Could've gotten even stronger, and that's not a nice thought to entertain.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
104. Hurricane4Lex
5:23 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
ya no kidding on that has been way too many

close calls for us all thankfully the calls

landed on the "weak side of things"
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
103. KEHCharleston
1:19 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
RE:97. pottery

Thanks for the link.
Considering what might have been, the islands have "weathered" fast moving Omar fairly well it seems.

I suspect that preparation and experience played a part in that.

Off to work. Good day to you all.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
102. pottery
1:20 PM AST on October 16, 2008
Yeah, Homeless. Got real strong, real fast.
There was a point yesterday when I felt ( in spite of the forecasts ) that it would remain a small Cat1, due to the shear and dry air to its N/W.
Omar shrugged that off like nothing....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
101. Cotillion
5:19 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting pottery:
Greetings all.
Looking at the reports from the Islands affected by Omar last night and this morning. Some damage all over the place, mostly coastal, fishing boats, small sea-side villages, roof damage, trees down, lots of flooding.
Could have been so much worse, had Omar not moved over them so fast.
Reports at - www.stormcarib.com


That, thankfully, for the most part has been the motto of this year. (Hanna being the standout exception.)

We have had some real tragedies, and not to downplay them at all. However, it all could've been worse, the biggest storms hitting at a bigger intensity, or the speed spared the worst.

Just a different role of the dice and the amount of damage and death tolls could have matched 2004 or 2005.

That's something to be thankful for. But yet, people are still suffering from this year's catastrophes, and must yet continue to keep them in our thoughts and actions, if we can spare it.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
100. Hurricane4Lex
5:15 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
keep in mind that I said MaJoR never

said the end of the season

tho not mad or anything just want ya to know ^_^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
99. WxLogic
5:20 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting NEwxguy:
I love this blog,one person is declaring the end of the tropical season and another blogger is predicting 5-6 more named storms,don't you love diversity?


LOL
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
98. homelesswanderer
12:16 PM CDT on October 16, 2008
Quoting pottery:
Greetings all.
Looking at the reports from the Islands affected by Omar last night and this morning. Some damage all over the place, mostly coastal, fishing boats, small sea-side villages, roof damage, trees down, lots of flooding.
Could have been so much worse, had Omar not moved over them so fast.
Reports at - www.stormcarib.com
Hello Pottery. I think it was good that it passed so fast too. Had no Idea it got up to a 3. Hope everyone is fairing well.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
97. pottery
1:12 PM AST on October 16, 2008
Greetings all.
Looking at the reports from the Islands affected by Omar last night and this morning. Some damage all over the place, mostly coastal, fishing boats, small sea-side villages, roof damage, trees down, lots of flooding.
Could have been so much worse, had Omar not moved over them so fast.
Reports at - www.stormcarib.com
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
96. PcolaDan
12:11 PM CDT on October 16, 2008
Quoting conchygirl:
Please no storms in the Western Caribbean - we are heading on a cruise there week after next. I know, how selfish can I get!


Couple of cruise ships may have had a NOT too pleasant couple of days.

Ship Locations.


Princess Cruise bridge cams.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
95. NEwxguy
1:10 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
I love this blog,one person is declaring the end of the tropical season and another blogger is predicting 5-6 more named storms,don't you love diversity?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
94. KEHCharleston
1:11 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
My favorite satellite floater
Bermuda well to the west of Omar's path
Will Omar catch up with Nana's remnants?
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
93. TheSavant
5:00 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
i think you have to watch out off the atlantic coast, theres the potential for storms in the next two weeks with dying stalled out cold fronts, and the western carrib is always dangerous for development because of the moisture and warm water.

i sure wouldnt want to get people excited about the end of the season yet, theres six more weeks and anything could happen, my opinion
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
92. Hurricane4Lex
5:01 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
I love the cold and dry air I'll take it ^_^
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
91. WxLogic
4:58 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
81. IKE...

From the sounds of it... looks that it might be a rather strong FROPA at least for the Central CONUS... let's see how 12Z runs for the rest of the models look.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
90. homelesswanderer
11:56 AM CDT on October 16, 2008
Sounds like some cold air behind next weeks system.....
That'll be nice. :)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
89. Hurricane4Lex
4:51 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Omar- the last major hurricane of the atlantic 2008 season

hope my statement is true

what do you guys think?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
88. Cotillion
4:55 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting TheSavant:
i think we have 5-6 more named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 more major storm before the end of the season, thats just my opinion

what do you think


2 more tops imho. Possibly one 'cane, but nothing more than that. No majors.

15-7-4 is the current which is almost bang on the average for 1995-2007. Only figure we're missing is one more hurricane.

(Which Fay or Marco perhaps maybe upgraded in post season, though I'm skeptical. Seriously, the NHC has a lot of work to do when Dec 1st comes.)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
87. IKE
11:55 AM CDT on October 16, 2008
Quoting TheSavant:
i think we have 5-6 more named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 more major storm before the end of the season, thats just my opinion

what do you think


1, maybe 2 more.

Maybe 1 cane.

No majors.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
86. TheSavant
4:52 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
i think we have 5-6 more named storms, 3 hurricanes and 1 more major storm before the end of the season, thats just my opinion

what do you think
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
85. Cotillion
4:54 PM GMT on October 16, 2008
Quoting KEHCharleston:
RE:80. homelesswanderer
Thanks.
Cotillion, looks like it will be "surfs up" for the UK in about a week.


Yeah, does look so.

Very breezy today actually. As long as Omar doesn't rapidly deepen into a windstorm, we'll be fine.

If he does, it's batten down the hatches. :(
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
84. conchygirl
12:53 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
Please no storms in the Western Caribbean - we are heading on a cruise there week after next. I know, how selfish can I get!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
83. KEHCharleston
12:51 PM EDT on October 16, 2008
RE:80. homelesswanderer
Thanks.
Cotillion, looks like it will be "surfs up" for the UK in about a week.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
82. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
4:52 PM GMT on October 16, 2008


Member Since: Posts: Comments:
81. IKE
11:52 AM CDT on October 16, 2008
Quoting WxLogic:
If that TS does materializes... it will all come down to timing and High placement to prevent it from crossing FL.


Maybe peninsula Florida's last shot of the season or very close to it.

Long range forecast discussion from Amarillo,TX talks of...

Lots of disagreement on the early week low both among models and run
to run. The operational models...both GFS and European model (ecmwf)...tend to have
more amplified solutions as compared with the vast majority of NCEP
and Gem ensemble members. Normally would favor the more zonal
solutions however recent flow patterns...like with the last
low...have tended to be meridional. Therefore prefer the more
amplified GFS and European model (ecmwf)...but considering the uncertainty have gone
with a compromise of operational models and ensemble members. Have
pushed back the start of precipitation until Monday night...and have cut off
precipitation by Wednesday morning. Undercut guidance for maximum
temperatures..but considering the single digit 850 mb temperatures
that both the GFS and European model (ecmwf) are showing for Wednesday and
Thursday..
.may not have gone low enough.


Sounds like some cold air behind next weeks system.....
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:

Viewing: 131 - 81

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13Blog Index

Top of Page

Category 6™

About

Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather