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 charlottefl:


If that happens, as long as they can distinguish that is came from Paula, it would still be called Paula.
A couple of the models show a large low absorbing whatever is left of Paula..Here is one of them..Link
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Paula is a tough babe, held up pretty good with the shear and all, its gonna take 60mph to do her in.
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Pretty steady 015 @ 7.5 kts
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Quoting scott39:
Paula will be 90mph moving NE at 5pm.


Agreed
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Paula will be 90mph moving NE at 5pm.
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Hurricane Hunters coming back into Paula. This next run will probably be the determining factor in the 5PM advisory.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Question. If Paula does exactly as the NHC's track forecast, and the remnant low meanders across Cuba and back south to the carribean and retains tropical cyclone status and it becomes the hurricane that the GFS model has hitting Florida on the 24th and 25th October, What shall be it's name? Paula? Richard?


If that happens, as long as they can distinguish that is came from Paula, it would still be called Paula.
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Quoting HurricaneHunterJoe:
Question. If Paula does exactly as the NHC's track forecast, and the remnant low meanders across Cuba and back south to the carribean and retains tropical cyclone status and it becomes the hurricane that the GFS model has hitting Florida on the 24th and 25th October, What shall be it's name? Paula? Richard?


If the NHC can determine that it is the same system and hasn't interacted or been joined by any other system they could keep the same name. IMO
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The eyewall structure has actually improved in recent radar frames. It's still at least a healthy Cat 1.
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Question. If Paula does exactly as the NHC's track forecast, and the remnant low meanders across Cuba and back south to the carribean and retains tropical cyclone status and it becomes the hurricane that the GFS model has hitting Florida on the 24th and 25th October, What shall be it's name? Paula? Richard?
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Quoting TropicalMan2010:
we may have one more cane in my book but majors are done.
maybe we get scary shary for halloween
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i bet 75mph@5pm,5mph ene...jmo
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Radar out of Cuba reveals that Paula is moving towards the NNE. Steering currents for Paula's intensity reveal that the system continues to cruise along the western periphery of a weak subtropical ridge. The system appears to be ready to meet the westerly flow ahead of a deep mid-latitude trough digging into the Gulf of Mexico, so a more easterly component in motion should begin soon.

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Quoting Jeff9641:


Ridge builds in and pushes it NW.
is this possible?
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Quoting reedzone:
Have fun, i'm out, got work in a few. Amazing how rude people are in here.
....still got love for ya, dont be sensitive,the regs all know ur a good kid!!
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The NHC forecasts Paula to weaken, but looks like it has a better chance of being a hurricane in a few days then Thursday or Friday. lol
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paula on her way tto rapid dissapation,minimal TS by tomorrow morning if that
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lates wv anim.image
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why is the nogaps doing a loop back into the GOM?
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With Paula's movement, the shear and dry air will hinder it but it's about a patch of warmer water. I think it'll use it up all it can with a final good run before really dying out. IMO
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To answer your question Sunliper, feeding the eastern side of the upcoming nor'easter, will be a very strong tap of warm and moist air into the 980mb low via the gulf stream. If things time our right ( depends on how fast Paula and Nor'easter move ) some of the flow could be diverted northward into the nor'easter. For more visit Stormtopia.com

Thanks for reading
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Quoting reedzone:


Nope, 80, maybe 85 mph. Still a steady category one storm.


He is basing his statement on measured facts.. what are you basing your 'nope' on.. a guess.. womans intuition??? what?
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maybe 2 more but that may be pushing it
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Quoting TropicalMan2010:
still has winds of hurricane force so still a cane no ts just yet.
won't be a cane for much longer bye bye paula nice little storm but now almost gone one more from nw carb and thats all folks mark my words
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Quoting robert88:
Still holding on to minimal cane status with surface winds 77mph. Eyewall is open to the S now.

""


Nope, 80, maybe 85 mph. Still a steady category one storm.
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Have fun, i'm out, got work in a few. Amazing how rude people are in here.
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70. 7544
another jog north this is going n of cuba sorry
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Still holding on to minimal cane status with surface winds 77mph. Eyewall is open to the S now.

""
Member Since: May 22, 2010 Posts: 0 Comments: 907
Quoting reedzone:
So why are you all questioning me on the last blog then? I said winds will probably be at 80-90 mph. and Dr. Masters has proved my statement.
....you said she was stregthening about 2hrs ago,enough bs matt,you made a bad call,ive made many,man up and stick to your guns(sfl can unpprepare NOW),lol
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65. 7544
paula a ts by 5pm
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Up to 30 knots of southwesterly shear have begun to impede upon Paula causing a rather asymmetric structure stretching from southwest to northeast. Further weakening should be anticipated and it is likely that Paula will weaken to a tropical storm by tonight.
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Quoting barotropic:


Bevause he was prediction and warning of a cat one or two hurricane for S. Florida. Thats NOT going to happen based on what is going on now. A very weak TS maybe a TD for the straights.......are possible.


Hey! read the facts buddy.. I simply said those who in in South Florida should not wait for the last minute and make preparations just in case the unthinkable happens and Paula heads their way. Models were showing this earlier as Paula was moving more north then the forecast. I wasn't saying it was coming there, you need to stop where your at now and not accuse me of lies. You don't like me, IGNORE ME!
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It's gonna end up feeding that nor'easter in Cape Cod...
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Paula just got Blown away.
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
Central and North Florida Have Sunny Skys

While South Florida and the Keys Have Cloudy Skys...

That Must be the Could Front Boundary...

It is and notice the boundary is backing up into the Gulf. Key West has had no rain today since early morning. Well my side of the Island, anyway. I think this leaves an avenue for the storm to creep further north and threaten us here in the Keys. IMO:)
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103

URNT12 KNHC 132008

VORTEX DATA MESSAGE AL182010

A. 13/19:57:50Z

B. 21 deg 37 min N

085 deg 41 min W

C. 700 mb 3035 m

D. 67 kt

E. 318 deg 2 nm

F. 094 deg 67 kt

G. 332 deg 6 nm

H. 992 mb

I. 7 C / 3135 m

J. 17 C / 3050 m

K. 11 C / NA

L. OPEN SW-SE

M. C12

N. 12345 / 07

O. 0.02 / 2 nm

P. AF303 0518A PAULA OB 18

MAX FL WIND 79 KT NE QUAD 19:03:40Z
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Product: Air Force Vortex Message (URNT12 KNHC)
Transmitted: 13th day of the month at 20:08Z
Aircraft: Air Force Aircraft (Last 3 digits of the tail number are 303)
Storm Number & Year: 18L in 2010
Storm Name: Paula (flight in the North Atlantic basin)
Mission Number: 5
Observation Number: 18
A. Time of Center Fix: 13th day of the month at 19:57:50Z
B. Center Fix Coordinates: 21°37'N 85°41'W (21.6167N 85.6833W)
B. Center Fix Location: 81 miles (130 km) to the ENE (66°) from Cancún, Quintana Roo, México.
C. Minimum Height at Standard Level: 3,035m (9,957ft) at 700mb
D. Estimated (by SFMR or visually) Maximum Surface Wind: 67kts (~ 77.1mph)
E. Location of the Estimated Maximum Surface Wind: 2 nautical miles (2 statute miles) to the NW (318°) of center fix
F. Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: From 94° at 67kts (From the E at ~ 77.1mph)
G. Location of Maximum Flight Level Wind Inbound: 6 nautical miles (7 statute miles) to the NNW (332°) of center fix
H. Minimum Sea Level Pressure: 992mb (29.29 inHg)
I. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Outside Eye: 7°C (45°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,135m (10,285ft)
J. Maximum Flight Level Temp & Pressure Altitude Inside Eye: 17°C (63°F) at a pressure alt. of 3,050m (10,007ft)
K. Dewpoint Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): 11°C (52°F)
K. Sea Surface Temp (collected at same location as temp inside eye): Not Available
L. Eye Character: Open from the southwest to the southeast
M. Eye Shape & Diameter: Circular with a diameter of 12 nautical miles (14 statute miles)
N. Fix Determined By: Penetration, Radar, Wind, Pressure and Temperature
N. Fix Levels (sfc and flt lvl centers are within 5nm of each other): Surface and 700mb
O. Navigation Fix Accuracy: 0.02 nautical miles
O. Meteorological Accuracy: 2 nautical miles
Remarks Section:
Maximum Flight Level Wind: 79kts (~ 90.9mph) in the northeast quadrant at 19:03:40Z
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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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