Paula weakens, heads towards Cuba

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:42 PM GMT en Octubre 13, 2010

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Data from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicates that Hurricane Paula has weakened substantially, and may now be a Category 1 hurricane. The aircraft has made three penetrations of the eye as of 3:30pm EDT, and found top surface winds of 80 mph with their SFMR instrument. Top winds seen at flight level of 10,000 feet were 92 mph, which translates to 83 mph surface winds, using the 10% reduction rule of thumb. Based on these data, it is reasonable to assume Paula is now a Category 1 hurricane with 85 - 90 mph winds, since the aircraft may not have sampled where the peak winds were occurring. Paula is in the Yucatan Channel, the narrow gap between Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula and the western tip of Cuba, and has now turned and is headed northeast towards Cuba. A rain band with heavy rains lies over the western tip of Cuba, and Cabo San Antonio on the western tip of Cuba picked up 2.80" of rain so far today from Paula. However, the winds have remained below 15 mph.


Figure 1. Radar image from the Pinar del Rio radar in Cuba at 3:15pm EDT on October 13, 2010, showing the eye of Paula near the western tip of Cuba. A strong spiral band was affecting western Cuba at this time. Image credit: Cuban Institute of Meteorology.

High wind shear due to strong upper-level winds out of the south are starting to tear up the southern portion of Paula, and satellite imagery shows the storm now has a lopsided appearance due to the shear. Low level spiral banding is no longer as impressive, and lines of low-level arc-shaped clouds are racing away from the southern portion of Paula, indicating that the hurricane has ingested dry air that has created strong thunderstorm downdrafts. Ingestion of this dry air is partially responsible for Paula's recent weakening. Water vapor satellite loops confirm the presence of a large amount of dry air on the south, west, and north sides of Paula.

Forecast for Paula
A small storm like Paula may weaken very quickly under the current 30 knots of wind shear and the dry air surrounding it. However, the latest 3pm EDT eye report from the Hurricane Hunters indicated that Paula's eyewall still remained solid, so Paula may be able to hang on for a few more hours before the shear drives dry air into the inner core and destroys the eyewall. Once that occurs, Paula should weaken more rapidly. I'd be surprised if Paula was still a hurricane on Thursday morning, even if it does not hit Cuba. Hurricane force winds extend out just fifteen miles from Paula's center, so only a very small region of coast will receive Paula's strongest winds if landfall occurs. The 11am EDT wind probability product from NHC gives Cabo San Antonio on the western tip of Cuba the highest odds of receiving hurricane force winds of any land area--a 35% chance. Key West is given a 4% chance, and Havana, Cuba, an 8% chance. These probabilities are slightly higher than they were in the 5am advisory, reflecting Paula's ability to hang tough in the face of 30 knots of wind shear. It currently appears that heavy rain will be the major threat from Paula. If Paula stalls over or near western Cuba for several days, the hurricane could easily dump more than ten inches over mountainous regions of the island.

The latest SHIPS model forecast calls for wind shear to rise to a very high 35 - 40 knots on Thursday afternoon, and remain above 25 knots for the rest of the week. This high shear, combined with the expected landfall of the center over mountainous Cuba, should be enough to destroy Paula by Sunday.

The latest set of model runs from 8am EDT (12Z) are very similar to the previous sets of runs. There are two basic solutions. One solution, championed by the GFDL and GFS ensemble mean, takes Paula just south of the Florida Keys on Friday morning, then into the Bahamas Friday afternoon. The other solution, offered by the rest of the models, is for Paula to move very slowly over western Cuba the next few days, then circle southeastwards into the Caribbean, as a strong high pressure system over the Gulf of Mexico intensifies and pushes Paula to the south. This is the more likely scenario, given the current trends in how the models are depicting evolution of the jet stream pattern over the U.S. in the coming days. However, residents of South Florida, the Keys, and the Bahamas should be anticipate the possibility of Paula coming their way as a weak tropical storm on Friday.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The NOGAPS model is predicting the formation of Tropical Storm Richard 5 - 6 days from now, in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua, near where Paula formed. The GFS has just a strong tropical disturbance forming there.

In the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm Megi has formed, and is predicted to be a major typhoon that will threaten the northern Philippine Island of Luzon early next week.

Next update
I'll have an update Thursday morning.

Jeff Masters

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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:
I have been watching Ms Paula,
Every time I think it may go see Baha
or loop to visit Kman,
the tracks seem to pass my neighborhood
every so often...

wait and see again,
but I am hoping the end of the season
soon come.


So far so good for all of us this year. It didn't look that way when we saw the SST and TCHP back in May. Just goes to show that not even historically high ocean heat content can produce catastrophe unless other critical factors also align themselves and that did not happen this year.

It's not over but the fat lady has started humming.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


No, over the past 823 years, I have seen it many times. That is just a myth perpertrated by the Gorgons.
LOL
Member Since: Septiembre 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1316
Quoting kmanislander:
And just like that a great calm came upon the blog.

No more " she's making a run at Cat 3"

or "125 mph at the next advisory"

or "I can't believe the NHC can't see that Paula is intensifyiing"

Soon, the great wait for 2011 will begin.

Sad to some, but a relief that so far so many have escaped unscathed
all have been open sea presentations with only a few land interactions soon 2010 reviews start or maybe already
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:

Well, only RoC government workers and scientists are allowed to have their own internet accounts, and these are provided by the state, meaning they have limited access to sites outside of Cuba. Regular citizens are allowed to open personal email accounts, but they're not supposed to have web access, so they are supposed to use public email-only terminals at post offices, etc. Lots of tourist hotels, though, have outside internet access, and a lot of Cuban residents use those hotels to access the web in contravention of the law.
Just thought you might want to know...
Gasp!! I had no clue...... that strict????
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Quoting LightningCharmer:


This October Has 5 Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays, But That Happens Way More Often Than “Once Every 823 Years”

BAH!!
You all sure know how to stop a guy in his tracks!
heheheheh
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting kmanislander:
And just like that a great calm came upon the blog.

No more " she's making a run at Cat 3"

or "125 mph at the next advisory"

or "I can't believe the NHC can't see that Paula is intensifyiing"

Soon, the great wait for 2011 will begin.

Sad to some, but a relief that so far so many have escaped unscathed
......shhhhhhhhsh,you'll wake the kids,lol
Member Since: Octubre 5, 2007 Posts: 20 Comments: 4970
.
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
I have been watching Ms Paula,
Every time I think it may go see Baha
or loop to visit Kman,
the tracks seem to pass my neighborhood
every so often...

wait and see again,
but I am hoping the end of the season
soon come.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

True enough.
I have to say, I am surprised at the overall outcome.
I think that most people were pretty sure that land-falling systems would be the thing this year.


Two factors were of significance in blunting the impact of the season.

1. The late start due to the excessive continental heat that resulted in subsidence in the Atlantic and several systems that could not get going as a result of the dry air and shear.

2. The very strong La Nina which tends to produce a lot of recurving storms.

Neutral years are the real danger for the Caribbean and the SE US.

Who knows what next year will bring.
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Quoting pottery:

Looks like a cold cloud-top, if anything.
Neptune didn't seem to stir Paula ... & so doesn't look like much swell if any for SWFL surfers

though, I am grateful Paula didn't cause harm to any of our island & coastal friends
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Quoting F4PHANTOM:
Happens once every 823 years


No, over the past 823 years, I have seen it many times. That is just a myth perpetrated by the Zorgons.
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting pottery:

How are you this evening.
You might get some rains from Paulita?
aye some showers and breezy winds for him maybe some rumbles of thunder if dark out maybe a little lightening nothing more

lol
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Quoting pottery:

Ignore her/him!

and while you are at it, tell them that this month has -
5 fridays
5 saturdays
5 sundays

and THAT hasnt happened for hundreds of years.
Tell them you were there when it last happened....
I am sure you remember.


Actuall, I do. It was October of 1999. It happens all the time.
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting kmanislander:
And just like that a great calm came upon the blog.

No more " she's making a run at Cat 3"

or "125 mph at the next advisory"

or "I can't believe the NHC can't see that Paula is intensifyiing"

Soon, the great wait for 2011 will begin.

Sad to some, but a relief that so far so many have escaped unscathed

True enough.
I have to say, I am surprised at the overall outcome.
I think that most people were pretty sure that land-falling systems would be the thing this year.
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting pottery:

Ignore her/him!

and while you are at it, tell them that this month has -
5 fridays
5 saturdays
5 sundays

and THAT hasnt happened for hundreds of years.
Tell them you were there when it last happened....
I am sure you remember.


This October Has 5 Fridays, Saturdays, & Sundays, But That Happens Way More Often Than “Once Every 823 Years”
Member Since: Septiembre 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1316
439. txjac
What's even sadder is there is an article linked to the article that you posted that is titled "Cuban Head Meteorologist Denies Presence of Tropical Storm Near Cuba"
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Quoting zoomiami:
There was a blogger from Gitmo for about 18 months, haven't seen him on this past year.
yep but its been awhile
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Quoting CaicosRetiredSailor:


hmmmmmmmmm.......

Sounds... well um
risky...

G'd evening Pottery

How are you this evening.
You might get some rains from Paulita?
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Is Christine O'Donnell more like Samantha or Endora?
Member Since: Septiembre 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11151
And just like that a great calm came upon the blog.

No more " she's making a run at Cat 3"

or "125 mph at the next advisory"

or "I can't believe the NHC can't see that Paula is intensifyiing"

Soon, the great wait for 2011 will begin.

Sad to some, but a relief that so far so many have escaped unscathed
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting pottery:

I sure hope so!
(had to be a little careful due to the electricity point close by!)
Seems good now.
A flashing into a blockwall...
you know the thing.


hmmmmmmmmm.......

Sounds... well um
risky...

G'd evening Pottery
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Neapolitan:


Well, only RoC government workers and scientists are allowed to have their own internet accounts, and these are provided by the state, meaning they have limited access to sites outside of Cuba. Regular citizens are allowed to open personal email accounts, but they're not supposed to have web access, so they are supposed to use public email-only terminals at post offices, etc. Lots of tourist hotels, though, have outside internet access, and a lot of Cuban residents use those hotels to access the web in contravention of the law.

Just thought you might want to know...
Interesting and sad at the same time.

Escambre - Digital newspaper of Sancti Spiritus province, Cuba

Western Cuba Attentive to Hurricane Paula
Member Since: Septiembre 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1316
430. IKE
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


Couldn't help it sammy. Just had to inject some levity on a quiet night. Now tell me that cannot possibly be the stupidest question ever posted. LOL


It's the funniest lol
Member Since: Octubre 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Grothar:


You know how time can play tricks at our age. One of the nurses here was trying to tell me it was 2010. Can you believe that.

Ignore her/him!

and while you are at it, tell them that this month has -
5 fridays
5 saturdays
5 sundays

and THAT hasnt happened for hundreds of years.
Tell them you were there when it last happened....
I am sure you remember.
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting Grothar:


Couldn't help it sammy. Just had to inject some levity on a quiet night. Now tell me that cannot possibly be the stupidest question ever posted. LOL
It was certainly up there though. LOL.
Member Since: Septiembre 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21193
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Shower Curtain Time!


Couldn't help it sammy. Just had to inject some levity on a quiet night. Now tell me that cannot possibly be the stupidest question ever posted. LOL
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Around 10:00 p.m. CDT.


Thanks, Jeff, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Shower Curtain Time!

You beat me to it!
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Around 10:00 p.m. CDT.


That's the best answer, imo. LOL.
Member Since: Septiembre 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
Quoting pottery:

heheheh,
Gro, you are not old enough to know these things...


You know how time can play tricks at our age. One of the nurses here was trying to tell me it was 2010. Can you believe that.
Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?



I am going out on a limb here and saying 11 PM
Member Since: Agosto 1, 2006 Posts: 28 Comments: 3716
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?


Around 10:00 p.m. CDT.
Member Since: Septiembre 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11151
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?


Is that for the central or eastern time zone???
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Might be a small eye...If it is, won't last long.


Looks like a cold cloud-top, if anything.
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307
413. txjac
Thanks to everyone that answered
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?


Obvious answer is obvious lol
Member Since: Octubre 8, 2008 Posts: 14 Comments: 4553
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?


LOL.
Member Since: Septiembre 9, 2008 Posts: 6 Comments: 3414
Just came out, look at this: Statistical models.

Member Since: Julio 17, 2009 Posts: 71 Comments: 26124
Quoting Grothar:
Anyone know what time the 11:00PM advisory comes out?

heheheh,
Gro, you are not old enough to know these things...
Member Since: Octubre 24, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 24307

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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