Wracked by a strong earthquake previously and only recovering at a brutally slow snail’s pace, the recent cholera outbreak may be the least of its problems in the coming days. A late season hurricane, Hurricane Tomas, is churning into the Gulf of Mexico after beating up the Lesser Antilles earlier last week. Strong wind shear is presently keeping the low pressure centre of Tomas decoupled from its rain core, lowering its strength currently to tropical storm status, but the shear is expected to moderate by mid-week, allowing the storm to turn toward the north and strengthen.

At least one model forecast puts the potential for Tomas to come across Haiti from the south as a major category 3 hurricane, which, if it unfolds, will cause severe devastation across the already ravaged country.

Update 2010-11-05: Hurricane Tomas has regained category one hurricane strength as it moves over the warm waters at the western edge of Haiti. Furtthern strengthening may occur over the next 24 hours before a decline in strength occurs. While winds are strong, the major threat from Haiti is very heavy rains. The cyclone has gained some orgaization this morning, and moiture content is high as evidenced from the 5AM GOES look this morning (below). Light blue traces over the centre are reconnaisance aircraft flight paths. Further discussion of Tomas is found lower down the page.

Coloured, numbered dots are track models and SS category strength levels. The yellow rings are tropical storm wind extent, red rings are hurricane wind strength. White dots are the expected path. Light blue tracks over the low pressure centre are reconaissance aircraft flight paths.

See Atlantic and Eastern Pacific Hurricane Activity for more details.