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jueves, noviembre 04, 2010

Haiti: Hurricane Tomas Remains A Huge Threat

Despite yesterday's hopeful news, that the storm had moved to the west and might be weakening and disorganizing, today brought more bad news about the storm's arrival in Haiti from BBC:

Haiti has been placed on high alert as a powerful storm sweeps in, threatening thousands of earthquake survivors still living in camps.

Forecasters say Tropical Storm Tomas is gaining strength and will begin to lash Haiti by late Thursday, reaching full force by Friday.

Some camps are being evacuated and officials have told those living in tents to move to stronger shelter.

Health workers fear heavy rain will exacerbate Haiti's cholera epidemic.

It looks on todays' forecast map like the storm may have moved "mysteriously" to the West and that it will not directly come ashore in Haiti. That is good news:

But, despite this move, the prediction remains dire: there may be torrential rains leading to mudslides and loss of sanitation and destruction of infrastructure and potentially loss of life:

"On the forecast track, the centre will pass near Haiti or extreme eastern Cuba (late Thursday) and early Friday," the NHC said.

The storm is expected to dump as much as 38cm (15in) of rain over Haiti and the neighbouring Dominican Republic, with more heavy rain over Jamaica and Cuba.

It, of course, remains to be seen whether the storm will actually fortify, whether it will stay on its course, and whether the rainfall prediction is accurate. Jeff Masters ledes this morning with somewhat hopeful news:

Tropical Storm Tomas is headed north towards Haiti, and the northernmost spiral bands of the storm have already reached the tip of Haiti's southwestern peninsula and the eastern tip of Jamaica. It appears at this time that the most dangerous flooding rains of 5 - 10 inches will be confined to the southwestern peninsula of Haiti, and that the earthquake zone where 1.3 million people live in makeshift shelters and tents will experience lesser rains that will cause serious but not catastrophic flooding.

All of this adds up to gratitude for yesterday's shifts in the storm, and the likelihood that further ceremonias can bare greater fruit. I will focus on this this evening; please join me.