Paula weakens, heads towards Cuba

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:42 PM GMT on October 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 JLPR2:


Was that 91L the one in the north GOM or was that another invest?


91L was the left-overs of TS Agatha
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307. IKE
Quoting JLPR2:


Agreed, if anything the NHC has been a little too conservative this year, for example Paula's strength on the first advisory. XD


Probably should have sent recon in earlier. Maybe they were surprised how strong she was on the first mission.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
I think "possible Richard" will be more of a threat to the lower 48.
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304. JLPR2
Quoting IKE:


I get sick of reading about NHC conspiracy's. I don't believe it either. It is what it is. They do a job. Their not perfect but they do a good job.


Agreed, if anything the NHC has been a little too conservative this year, for example Paula's strength on the first advisory. XD
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303. JLPR2
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:
I believe 90L will become a Tropical Depression in post-season...Had the appearance and everything. Also, looking at 91L, it looks like it may have briefly been one, but if it is changed or anything in post-season, beats me. I personally wouldn't do 91L, but thats just my opinion.

Then we had 92L. I'm pretty sure MANY, MANY people will agree that that was 01L at one point, and probably Alex.



Was that 91L the one in the north GOM or was that another invest?
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302. IKE
Quoting JLPR2:
Every time I see the ''The NHC has a conspiracy to inflate this seasons numbers'' I laugh, if that were true, 90L would have been STS Alex and 92L a TD. XD


I get sick of reading about NHC conspiracy's. I don't believe it either. It is what it is. They do a job. Their not perfect but they do a good job.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
300. IKE
Quoting Dakster:
IKE -

Think 70 kts ought to do it?


Yes.......

Interesting season. I would have bet my paycheck the lower 48 would have had a major one hit somewhere in 2010.

Amazing that out of 16 storms...quite a few hurricanes and several majors...that nothing did.

Flooding was the bigger issue in 2010 for the USA, with tropical systems.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Looking nice in my neck of the woods for the next 10 days:

Local Text Forecast for
Lake Worth, FL (33461)

Oct 13 Tonight
Mostly cloudy skies this evening. A few showers developing late. Thunder possible. Low 72F. Winds light and variable. Chance of rain 30%.
Oct 14 Tomorrow
Showers early then thundershowers developing later in the day. High 82F. Winds NW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Oct 14 Tomorrow night
Showers and thundershowers likely in the evening with a shower or two possible overnight. Low 69F. Winds W at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 60%.
Oct 15 Friday
Mix of sun and clouds. Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 60s.
Oct 16 Saturday
A few morning showers. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 60s.
Oct 17 Sunday
Times of sun and clouds. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the upper 60s.
Oct 18 Monday
Chance of showers. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 70s.
Oct 19 Tuesday
Scattered showers. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 70s.
Oct 20 Wednesday
Mostly cloudy, chance of showers. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 70s.
Oct 21 Thursday
Scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the mid 80s and lows in the mid 70s.
Oct 22 Friday
Scattered thunderstorms. Highs in the low 80s and lows in the low 70s.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10930
298. JLPR2
Every time I see the ''The NHC has a conspiracy to inflate this seasons numbers'' I laugh, if that were true, 90L would have been STS Alex and 92L a TD. XD
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IKE -

Think 70 kts ought to do it?
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296. N3EG
Quoting AstroHurricane001:

Tropical Storm Megi, despite the not-so-ominous-sounding name, needs to be watched VERY closely....


They can't all be named LIONROCK...
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295. IKE
Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Three hours... .1 North?

Wow...


Fixing to get her hair cut.

Like clockwork...the shear taking over the northern GOM.....70 knots of shear.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Paula doesnt care about shear!! LOL
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Three hours... .1 North?

Wow...


Fast mover huh...

Paula is definitely getting pounded by shear.
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Quoting IKE:
4:00 PM CDT Wed Oct 13
Location: 21.7°N 85.6°W
Max sustained: 85 mph
Moving: NNE at 5 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb

................................................

...SMALL PAULA INCHING CLOSER TO THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA...
7:00 PM CDT Wed Oct 13
Location: 21.8°N 85.6°W
Max sustained: 85 mph
Moving: NNE at 3 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb


Three hours... .1 North?

Wow...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Has an invest tagged 99L ever developed into a storm this season?
No.
Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Has an invest tagged 99L ever developed into a storm this season?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10930
I believe 90L will become a Tropical Depression in post-season...Had the appearance and everything. Also, looking at 91L, it looks like it may have briefly been one, but if it is changed or anything in post-season, beats me. I personally wouldn't do 91L, but thats just my opinion.

Then we had 92L. I'm pretty sure MANY, MANY people will agree that that was 01L at one point, and probably Alex.

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288. IKE
4:00 PM CDT Wed Oct 13
Location: 21.7N 85.6W
Max sustained: 85 mph
Moving: NNE at 5 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb

................................................

...SMALL PAULA INCHING CLOSER TO THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA...
7:00 PM CDT Wed Oct 13
Location: 21.8N 85.6W
Max sustained: 85 mph
Moving: NNE at 3 mph
Min pressure: 992 mb

.............................................

Not moving much won't help you avoid the sheer heading toward you Paula.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CybrTeddy:


I love how sometimes very powerful hurricanes have not so powerful names.

Like Earl for example.

Funny enough, we all predicted Igor would be a monster, and sure enough he was.


its a shame Lionrock couldnt amount to much haha
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:
and he gets away with it thats what makes it better one of my favs


Now that's funny...
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
You have a good point. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Tea Bagger, but I have a suspicion of anything governmental. Why they recently added a space shuttle mission to" smooth out" the layoffs while they transition space to the private sector.

At an rate ,I will say no more about the Hurricane Naming issue because it does open up the political bag and this is not a political blog.


Ya'all are giving me a hard time and KerryinNOLA is talking about tea bagging... Geez.
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Quoting CybrTeddy:


Nope, that was Invest 91L in June 2010.
I see now. She crossed over from the Pacific.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:


Tropical Storm Megi, despite the not-so-ominous-sounding name, needs to be watched VERY closely. It could threaten much of the northern Philippines, southern China and Vietnam.


I love how sometimes very powerful hurricanes have not so powerful names.

Like Earl for example.

Funny enough, we all predicted Igor would be a monster, and sure enough he was.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Evening everybody....

A HURRICANE IS CROSSING BETWEEN THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA AND EASTERN
YUCATAN...BUT WITHOUT MODERN TECHNOLOGY NO ONE WOULD KNOW IT WAS
THERE.

Now this is CLASSIC Avila.... I knew the moment I read that sentence he had to have written the discussion.... lol
and he gets away with it thats what makes it better one of my favs
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 168 Comments: 53285
18z GFS does not predict any snowstorm for S. Ontario on Friday, but this storm late in the month looks to be significant (~970 mb peak!).



At this point, according to the latest run, we're up to the 'T' named storm.
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Quoting stormwatcherCI:
Sorry, that's wrong. I think maybe 2008 ?


Nope, that was Invest 91L in June 2010.
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Tropical Storm Megi, despite the not-so-ominous-sounding name, needs to be watched VERY closely. It could threaten much of the northern Philippines, southern China and Vietnam.
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Quoting AstroHurricane001:
Guess what storm this is, look familiar?



No, it's not a weakening Paula. This was one of the stages of the extratropical remnant convection of TS Agatha back in June 2010.
Sorry, that's wrong. I think maybe 2008 ?
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Guess what storm this is, look familiar?



No, it's not a weakening Paula. This was one of the stages of the extratropical remnant convection of TS Agatha back in June 2010.
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Quoting KerryInNOLA:
You have a good point. Don't get me wrong, I'm no Tea Bagger, but I have a suspicion of anything governmental. Why they recently added a space shuttle mission to" smooth out" the layoffs while they transition space to the private sector.

At an rate ,I will say no more about the Hurricane Naming issue because it does open up the political bag and this is not a political blog.


Not to trend off topic, but the added STS-135 to add supplies to the International Space Station. Plus, your forgetting the fact they approved a replacement for the space shuttle, and that replacement could be ready for test flights in 2013-2014.

Now back to Hurricanes.

Paula's circulation is starting to become exposed it appears.



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Oh, and good evening.
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Quoting BahaHurican:
Evening everybody....

A HURRICANE IS CROSSING BETWEEN THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA AND EASTERN
YUCATAN...BUT WITHOUT MODERN TECHNOLOGY NO ONE WOULD KNOW IT WAS
THERE.

Now this is CLASSIC Avila.... I knew the moment I read that sentence he had to have written the discussion.... lol


True, true. Gotta love it.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Evening everybody....

A HURRICANE IS CROSSING BETWEEN THE WESTERN TIP OF CUBA AND EASTERN
YUCATAN...BUT WITHOUT MODERN TECHNOLOGY NO ONE WOULD KNOW IT WAS
THERE.

Now this is CLASSIC Avila.... I knew the moment I read that sentence he had to have written the discussion.... lol
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Will she see the light of day again as a Hurricane?



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270. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting CybrTeddy:


ATCF files indicate that Nicole was a TS for much longer than we thought.

AL, 16, 2010092812, , BEST, 0, 204N, 830W, 35, 1001, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1006, 360, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092818, , BEST, 0, 212N, 826W, 35, 1000, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1005, 375, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092900, , BEST, 0, 215N, 821W, 35, 997, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 375, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092906, , BEST, 0, 217N, 815W, 35, 997, TD, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 300, 0, 1003, 375, 150, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092912, , BEST, 0, 219N, 809W, 35, 996, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 300, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092918, , BEST, 0, 235N, 806W, 35, 996, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 45, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NICOLE, D,
AL, 16, 2010093000, , BEST, 0, 250N, 802W, 35, 995, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0,
AL, 16, 2010093006, , BEST, 0, 264N, 796W, 35, 995, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NICOLE, D,

Nicole has higher ACE than what is shown on wiki.


Yeah, some of us were discussing the changes last week. Instead of one TWO as a TS, there are now seven. But we can't trust that; it's just the evildoers at the NHC trying to cover their tracks... :-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
Quoting robert88:
Shear is about to start ripping into the core. Paula is going to be exposed soon. She is probably a TS right now


Radar says differently. She is actually holding up pretty good right now. More round and better outflow to the N than a few hours ago.

I think she's holding on and will still be a Hurricane at the 8pm.

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Quoting Neapolitan:
...
Seriously, can we please stick to scientific fact, and not unfounded allegations of conspiracy theories leveled at professional meteorologists?
Not to get involved some perhaps meaningless argument...LOL but I have to agree.


NHC Mission Statement

The NHC mission statement is to save lives, mitigate property loss, and improve economic efficiency by issuing the best watches, warnings, forecasts and analysis of hazardous tropical weather, and by increasing understanding of these hazards.

NHC Mission and Vision
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1264
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
I have never actually used those words "conspiracy theory" but when I saw Nicole named on one advisory and then declassified on the next I began to wonder. To set the record straight I propose that they reevaluate Nicole post season and expunge it.


ATCF files indicate that Nicole was a TS for much longer than we thought.

AL, 16, 2010092812, , BEST, 0, 204N, 830W, 35, 1001, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1006, 360, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092818, , BEST, 0, 212N, 826W, 35, 1000, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1005, 375, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092900, , BEST, 0, 215N, 821W, 35, 997, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 375, 180, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092906, , BEST, 0, 217N, 815W, 35, 997, TD, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 300, 0, 1003, 375, 150, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092912, , BEST, 0, 219N, 809W, 35, 996, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 300, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 40, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, SIXTEEN, D,
AL, 16, 2010092918, , BEST, 0, 235N, 806W, 35, 996, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 45, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NICOLE, D,
AL, 16, 2010093000, , BEST, 0, 250N, 802W, 35, 995, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0,
AL, 16, 2010093006, , BEST, 0, 264N, 796W, 35, 995, TS, 34, NEQ, 0, 300, 0, 0, 1003, 360, 150, 0, 0, L, 0, , 0, 0, NICOLE, D,

Nicole has higher ACE than what is shown on wiki.
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Southern/southwestern eyewall being eroded by southwesterly shear penetrating into Paula's inner core. It is likely that the eyewall will collapse soon and that the system weakens to a tropical storm, if it isn't one already.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21091
Shear is about to start ripping into the core. Paula is going to be exposed soon. She is probably a TS right now
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Quoting Seastep:
Otto is back up on Navy! LOL.


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Quoting Seastep:
Otto is back up on Navy! LOL.


ATCF updated Otto's file a few hours ago; he's a 35-knot, 1005 mb extratropical low at 35.9N/22.3W (he was at 43.5N / 26.3W just two days ago).

They're just keeping us informed...
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13442
Never mind. Cache issue again.
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When is the next update? 11 PM?
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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.