Tropical Storm Paula forming

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:30 PM GMT on October 11, 2010

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Data from the Hurricane Hunters, land stations, and satellite imagery reveal that the strong tropical disturbance centered near the coast of Honduras just west of the border with Nicaragua is now Tropical Storm Paula. Paula is the 16th named storm of the 2010 Atlantic hurricane season. The Hurricane Hunters reported a central pressure of 1001 mb and top surface winds of 45 mph in their 2:11pm EDT center fix. Satellite imagery shows a well-organized system with a modest but increasing amount of intense thunderstorm activity, and some respectable low-level spiral bands. Water vapor satellite loops reveal that Paula has been able to substantially moisten the atmosphere in the Western Caribbean over the past day, and dry air will be less of an impediment to development than it was yesterday. Wind shear is a moderate 10 - 15 knots. Puerto Lempira, Honduras reported sustained winds of 35 mph at 12pm CST this afternoon, with 3.31" of rain from the storm thus far.


Figure 1. Afternoon satellite image of Paula.

Forecast for Paula
Proximity to land is hampering Paula's ability to intensify some, and the storm's northwest movement of 10 mph will take the center far enough away from the coast of Honduras this evening to substantially increase the storm's ability to intensify. The latest SHIPS model forecast calls for wind shear to stay mostly in the moderate range, 10 - 15 knots, through Tuesday afternoon, then increase to the high range, 20 - 25 knots, for the remainder of the week. The computer models predict Paula will continue on a northwest motion then turn more north-northwest on Wednesday, which would take the storm close to landfall on the coast of Belize or Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula Tuesday night or Wednesday morning. At that time, Paula may be approaching Category 2 hurricane status, due to the moderate wind shear, SSTs of 29°C, and a sufficiently moist atmosphere. On Wednesday, there is considerable doubt about the future path of Paula. Steering currents in the Western Caribbean will collapse, potentially allowing Paula to wander in the region for many days, as predicted by the GFS and HWRF models. It is also possible that Paula will push far enough inland over Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula that the storm will dissipate, as predicted by the NOGAPS model. Finally, if Paula grows strong quickly, and pushes far enough north, it could get caught up a strong trough of low pressure predicted to traverse the U.S. this week (and spawn a Nor'easter for New England this weekend.) In this scenario, offered by the GFDL model, Paula would make a sharp turn to the east-northeast, hit western Cuba, bring tropical storm-force finds to the Florida Keys on Thursday, then move into the Bahama Islands by Friday or Saturday. It is too early to say which of these scenarios is the most likely, as the storm is just forming and the models do not have a good handle on it yet. Regardless, northern Honduras, Belize, and Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula will receive dangerous flooding rains from Paula today through Wednesday.

The U.S. drought in major hurricanes
On average, the U.S. gets hit by one major Category 3 or stronger hurricane every two years. This year, the team of hurricane forecasters at Colorado State University called for a 76% chance of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. in their June forecast. However, the odds of a major hurricane hitting the U.S. are rapidly dwindling. Over the past fifty years, the only Category 3 or stronger hurricanes to hit the U.S. after October 1 were Hilda (October 3, 1964), Opal (October 4, 1995), and Wilma (October 24, 2005). Hilda and Opal were already named tropical storms as of October 1, so Wilma was the major hurricane that formed after October 1 to hit the U.S. during this period. Although we still need to keep a wary eye on developments in the Western Caribbean over the next few weeks, the odds are that 2010 will join 1951 as the only year to have five or more major hurricanes in the Atlantic, but no landfalling major hurricane in the U.S. (1958 is also listed as such a year, but a re-analysis effort is showing that Hurricane Helene hit North Carolina as a major hurricane that year.) If 2010 finishes without a major hurricane hitting the U.S., this will mark the first such five-year stretch since 1910 - 1914.


Figure 2. Hurricane Wilma over South Florida as a Category 3 hurricane on October 24, 2005. Wilma was the last major hurricane to hit the U.S.

However, some caveats are required. Hurricanes Gustav and Ike, which both made landfall in the U.S. in 2008 as top-end Category 2 storms with 110 mph winds, would probably have been classified as Category 3 hurricanes had they occurred early in the 20th century. This is because in past, when there were not any reliable wind measurements in the vicinity of a landfalling hurricane (a common occurrence), the storm was classified based on its central pressure. Gustav and Ike had central pressures of 957 and 952 mb, respectively, which would have qualified them as Category 3 storms. Similarly, Hurricane Floyd of 1999 and Hurricane Isabel of 2002 (though not within the last five years) were strong Category 2 hurricanes with 105 mph winds at landfall, but had central pressures of 956 mb. These hurricanes would also have been classified as Category 3 hurricanes in the past. There are many storms from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s that will likely change their landfall classification once re-analysis efforts are completed over the next few years. One case is Hurricane Ten of 1949, which is listed as having winds of a low-end Category 4 hurricane (135 mph) just before landfall, which would make it the only October major hurricane to make landfall in Texas. However, the hurricane is only given a Category 2 strength at landfall, based on its central pressure.

Prior to 1960, there were five major hurricanes that hit Florida in October. Most notable of these is Hurricane King, which hit downtown Miami on October 18, 1950, as a Category 3 hurricane.

Record quiet hurricane and typhoon seasons in the Pacific
Over in the Western Pacific, it is currently the quietest typhoon season on record, according to statistics computed by forecaster Paul Stanko at the NWS office on Guam. On average, by this point in the season, there should have been 21 named storms, 13 typhoons, and 3 supertyphoons (storms with 150+ mph winds.) So far in 2010, there have been just 12 named storms, 6 typhoons, and no supertyphoons. The record lows for the Western Pacific (since 1951) are 18 named storms, 9 typhoons, and 0 supertyphoons. We have a good chance of beating or tying all of those records. Over the in the Eastern Pacific, it has also been a near record-quiet season. On average, the Eastern Pacific has 15 named storms, 8 hurricanes, and 3 intense hurricanes in a season. So far in 2010, there have been 7 named storms, 3 hurricanes, and 2 intense hurricanes. The record quietest season since 1966 was the year 1977, when the Eastern Pacific had 8 named storms, 4 hurricanes, and 0 intense hurricanes. Climatology suggests that on average, we can expect just one more named storm in the Eastern Pacific this late in the season, so there is a good chance that the 2010 season is over. La Niña is largely responsible to the quiet Eastern Pacific hurricane season, due in part to the cool sea surface temperatures it brought. La Niña also commonly causes less active Western Pacific typhoon seasons, since the warmest waters there shift closer to Asia, reducing the amount of time storms have over water.

I'll have an update Tuesday morning at the latest.

Jeff Masters

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461. txjac
Stay safe jimincieba ...let us know how its going there
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I hope pple realize that meandering through this part of the CAR at this point in the season is not like... UNUSUAL or anything.... lol .... though I admit we tend to see it more with weaker systems than stronger ones.....
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Impressive

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@Dakster - Meh, let's see what the 8pm models look like. I'm sure that will change.

Something to note:


Paula is predicted to hang out right over a 160mph Max speed eddy. If the shear forecast is less than predicted, the SST's would support maximum strength.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 310
we may see this soon on twc
href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6B73AQbcjE8" target="_blank">Link
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I am right smack dab in the middle of the north coast of Honduras....and nothing here yet...no wind, no rain...well..a 5 minute drizzle...it just looks like another night of rain...but i will let you know if hell breaks loose...smile
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for some reason this storm came to mind when Paula formed, maybe because it is the only storm I can think of in recent history that looped in the Caribbean
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:



None of your critizisms of JB are accurate. It's obvious that you don't read his blog or you would realize just how inaccurate you are. You're a smart guy Nea but it doesn't come thru in that post.

But that's the thing, Doug; I do read his blog, and I watch his video updates. Ive told you in the past that I find him funny and entertaining; I just think he's a buffoon who does himself a major disservice by being so constantly self-aggrandizing, petty, and vindictive. Even if he has a valid point about the NHC--which I don't believe he does--his delivery method turns so many people off that that point is little heard. FWIW, how I feel about JB is pretty much how I feel about Glen Beck...though at least JB understands something--meteorology--which is more than coule ever be said for Beck. ;-)
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Quoting oakland:


I was in Ft. Lauderdale for Willma and am in Tampa now. The odds of Paula making it to me are slim but not impossible. I'm more concerned for friends who still live in the Ft. Lauderdale area.


me too
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dracko - I am not real thrilled about a couple of those models!!

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Quoting beell:
Do you guys have Met degrees? If you don't then shut your mouth

I must have missed the memo on that one, lol.
be a lot less said if that ruled and the the real surprise would be who was who
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HOT SST's down near Paula



Definately headed NW for now. Then...???




Getting Stronger!!
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 310
BTW, Bahia de Honduras islands look to be getting some good rain from this, with TS winds... wonder if roatangardener is still paying attention to the blog....?
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NEXT ADVISORY
-------------
NEXT INTERMEDIATE ADVISORY...800 PM EDT.
NEXT COMPLETE ADVISORY...1100 PM EDT.

$$
FORECASTER BRENNAN

We shall see what 800PM brings us to.

How intense will it get at 800PM?

Post what you think...
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Pretty self explanatory:
-90C tops


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Just caught up on reading what I missed while out....

I think SweetAL is making some good points about synopic changes that may impact the 4-5 day forecast. Remember NHC itself has indicated a lower than usual confidence in that forecast, which to me suggests they are at least considering that alternative scenarios such as the one[s] suggested are not only possible but likely.

I do agree that the Eward movement along the S coast of Cuba seems counterintuitive to me... I might be able to go along with a small clockwise loop in the vicinity of the Yucatan Straits, or just SE of there, but that E and SE movement seems.... off. If we do see the meander, I've a feeling it'll be further west than forecasts currently suggest, and a clockwise loop would IMO bring it relatively close to original track. I'm thinking whatever NE component the storm takes after that point is likely to take it across Cuba and NE from there, either across SE FL or the NW Bahamas [Central Bahamas? not as likely, IMO]. The interesting thing about this is going to be time frame, since it seems not one, but 2 fronts are likely to drop down across the GoM and FL over the next 7 days....

But we shall see.... given the weird things that have happened this season so far, we may indeed end up with a Lenny-like storm moving from the west into JA.....
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Quoting GoodOleBudSir:


Are you in Canada?


He may be busy. But, yes he is. Got a great blog too, look down the member blog list. Quite a nice piece of work. Allow some time, if you really want to check it out properly.
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Hurricane Paula sound good to everyone?
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439. beell
Do you guys have Met degrees? If you don't then shut your mouth

I must have missed the memo on that one, lol.
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Where is Patrap?
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
dinner was good afternoon nap better now we have some turkey sandwich and pumkin pie for evening snack

more than tring wait till it pulls away from land a bit


Are you in Canada?
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Quoting Jeff9641:
I am so glad i have Old Man IKE on ignore.



Totally uncalled for.
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lol....


rush--"force ten"


good song :)
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Excellent observation and do not always trust those shear forecast maps!!!!!!!!!

Quoting SweetHomeBamaGOM:



wow it looks like the wind shear that was posted up between cuba and the yucatan has now collapsed back way to the north in the bubble extending over the southern CONUS. if this trend continues......
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Quoting Ryuujin:


Ah, ze return of the Down. How we've not missed thee.


We? You got a mouse in your pocket?
Speak for yourself dude.
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First of all if you follow JBs videos he's excellent! I do not like his politics in his blogs but his videos are very informative. NHC deserves to get bashed from time to time. They are just normal people who need a kick in the a--- sometimes. this is coming from an ex NHC employee. Do you guys have Met degrees? If you don't then shut your mouth


Quoting PensacolaDoug:



None of your critizisms of JB are accurate. It's obvious that you don't read his blog or you would realize just how inaccurate you are. You're a smart guy Nea but it doesn't come thru in that post.
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Quoting nocaneindy:
21 UTC shear tendency:



wow it looks like the wind shear that was posted up between cuba and the yucatan has now collapsed back way to the north in the bubble extending over the southern CONUS. if this trend continues......
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Quoting weatherlover94:


the nhc says an 80 mph storm then weakening at the end of the forecast period but i wouldnt be so sure about that we need to watch it closly


Even the NHC themselves admit that they have little skill in determining intensity...
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ORCA IS BACK. I missed you earlier... I heard SWBO was beating you at golf again?
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I disagree but do agree with bama...the GOM satellite images tell the story

Quoting AnthonyJKenn:


So..where do you think that ultimate landfall will be then?? Panhandle?? Mobile?? NOLA??

The upper level setup for the end of the week is looking more like what we had last week, with a strong trof over the Eastern CONUS, a deep ridge over the Western Rockies, and strong N-NW winds aloft as far E as the NW to N Cen GOM. Even if Paula was to pull a Wilma and become a Cat 5 superhurricane, there's just no way that she would be able to overcome that.

Either Paula meanders in the Western Carribean for a spell before lifting up through Cuba and the Bahamas, or she goes into the Ycatan and rains herself out like Matthew did. A Wilma scenario is possible, but given that the SSTs in the GOM have cooled to marginal to sustain hurricane strengeh, and that the dry-air regime has dominated for the last 2 weeks, I don't see this being as strong as Wilma even if it does make a run towards S FL or the Keys.

Anything north of Naples or Tampa, I'd be really shocked. Anything enywhere near NOLA...I'd be flabberghasted.


Anthony
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With the forecast of the steering currents to collapse, I think the best bet for predicting where Paula will be vacationing next week is to see how the models handle her now that she has grown up. Models tend to do different things when they are initiated with a large storm on the map they never anticipated being there.
Member Since: September 21, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 310
Quoting weatherlover94:


the nhc says an 80 mph storm then weakening at the end of the forecast period but i wouldnt be so sure about that we need to watch it closly


I was in Ft. Lauderdale for Willma and am in Tampa now. The odds of Paula making it to me are slim but not impossible. I'm more concerned for friends who still live in the Ft. Lauderdale area.
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
dinner was good afternoon nap better now we have some turkey sandwich and pumkin pie for evening snack

more than tring wait till it pulls away from land a bit


Glad to hear it. I agree. The high terrain is doing a number on the SW/S side.
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21 UTC shear tendency:
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Quoting AnthonyJKenn:


So..where do you think that ultimate landfall will be then?? Panhandle?? Mobile?? NOLA??

The upper level setup for the end of the week is looking more like what we had last week, with a strong trof over the Eastern CONUS, a deep ridge over the Western Rockies, and strong N-NW winds aloft as far E as the NW to N Cen GOM. Even if Paula was to pull a Wilma and become a Cat 5 superhurricane, there's just no way that she would be able to overcome that.

Either Paula meanders in the Western Carribean for a spell before lifting up through Cuba and the Bahamas, or she goes into the Ycatan and rains herself out like Matthew did. A Wilma scenario is possible, but given that the SSTs in the GOM have cooled to marginal to sustain hurricane strengeh, and that the dry-air regime has dominated for the last 2 weeks, I don't see this being as strong as Wilma even if it does make a run towards S FL or the Keys.

Anything north of Naples or Tampa, I'd be really shocked. Anything enywhere near NOLA...I'd be flabberghasted.


Anthony



no please don't get me wrong

a) a strong cat 5 is very very very unlikely at this point due to some diminishing sst's. they are still warm enough to encourage growth, but they aren't NO2 type temp's like we see in late july through mid sept.

b) i definately see that the storm will take an eastern turn, i just don't see a stall with a hard pivot. I would tend to believe this will arc on a more smooth, northern-northeastern hook.

c) in reality it all depends on how fast the storm moves along and i know things could change between now and then. heck look at how fast the dry air content has changed in the gulf. mother nature is very powerful and she ultimately has control. what i was kind of talking about are long-range changes so things can definitely change.



postscript based on how fast the midwestern trough has moved from okla. yesterday to mid southern states today i don't see that trough hooking up with this storm. if a trough hooks up it may be the next one moving in a few days from now. but again things can change., the trough over the mid-central south could stall, etc etc etc but i don't see that happening now.
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Quoting AnthonyJKenn:


So..where do you think that ultimate landfall will be then?? Panhandle?? Mobile?? NOLA??

The upper level setup for the end of the week is looking more like what we had last week, with a strong trof over the Eastern CONUS, a deep ridge over the Western Rockies, and strong N-NW winds aloft as far E as the NW to N Cen GOM. Even if Paula was to pull a Wilma and become a Cat 5 superhurricane, there's just no way that she would be able to overcome that.

Either Paula meanders in the Western Carribean for a spell before lifting up through Cuba and the Bahamas, or she goes into the Ycatan and rains herself out like Matthew did. A Wilma scenario is possible, but given that the SSTs in the GOM have cooled to marginal to sustain hurricane strengeh, and that the dry-air regime has dominated for the last 2 weeks, I don't see this being as strong as Wilma even if it does make a run towards S FL or the Keys.

Anything north of Naples or Tampa, I'd be really shocked. Anything enywhere near NOLA...I'd be flabberghasted.


Anthony


my guess for a landfall if we get one some were naples everglade city some were in there mabie farther north but not much farther but defiantly south of Tampa is what i see right now but gulf coast dont let your guard down because things can change in a hurry
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Just posted my first tropical blog entry:

Hope you enjoy.
Link
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Wilma was the last major hurricane to hit the US nearly 5 years ago. It hit South Florida with a similar setup. I guess now we all wonder, will Paula be another Wilma and be our next major hurricane to hit the US. In the same S FL location?
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:



Hey Keeper, nice post. Paula's trying. Hope your Thanksgiving was good.
dinner was good afternoon nap better now we have some turkey sandwich and pumkin pie for evening snack

more than tring wait till it pulls away from land a bit
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 178 Comments: 56141
Quoting oakland:


Not implying Paula will be a Wilma but having gone through Wilma and watching her sit over Cozumel for days before moving over S. FL; Paula meandering in the Caribbean doesn't make me feel very comfortable right now.


the nhc says an 80 mph storm then weakening at the end of the forecast period but i wouldnt be so sure about that we need to watch it closly
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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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