Tomas weakens in Caribbean, and dry season is on its way

Tomas has been downgraded to a tropical storm after reaching hurricane status and tearing off roofs, downing power lines and dropping up to 15 centimeters (6 inches) of rain across Barbados, St. Vincent and St. Lucia.

The center of the tropical storm is a few degrees north of Costa Rica. Photo: U.S. National Hurricane Center/A.M. Costa Rica

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said at 10 p.m. Sunday that the storm is moving west and that maximum sustained winds have decreased to about 65 mph (100 kph) and that additional weakening is expected over the next 48 hours.

Tropical storm force winds extend outward some 175 miles (280 kilometers) from the center.

The storm was located well within the Caribbean and north of Venezuela. It is on a track that has a strong possibility of bringing heavy rains to Costa Rica, although the country has been lucky in that other storms this year have veered to the north without bringing damaging winds and rains to the country. The worst effects came from tropical waves and not hurricanes or tropical storms.

Tomas arrives in the news as the Instituto Meteorológico Nacional officially announced the beginning of transition from the rainy to the dry season. That took place Friday by means of a press release. Nevertheless, the Atlantic hurricane season does not end officially until Nov. 30.

The weather institute said that a decrease in rain is likely in some regions of the country. The first to get relief from rain are the Central Valley and the north Pacific coast.
Still, the weather institute said that this week will continue to be typical of the rainy season.

The weather institute said that the transition period would be characterized by alternating days of rain and dry weather and an increase n the air pressure in the Caribbean.

The dry season is created by winds from the north, and sometimes these are chilly. The weather institute predicted at least four cold fronts would pass over the country by February.

The weather institute said that Guanacaste would see the dry season between Nov. 15 and 30. The Central Valley would be two weeks later, from Dec. 1 to 15. The central Pacific will see the season arrive in the last two weeks of December and that the dry season will reach the southern Pacific coast in the last two weeks of January.

The weather institute said that these predictions had about a two-week margin of error.

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