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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Lol...That's why Ike is so cool!
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
Quoting Grothar:


Don't give GeoffWPB any encouragement. We'll be listening to Bing Crosby all night.
Who???
heheheh
Better than The Mighty Sparrow, doing Jingle Bells.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
556. IKE
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting LightningCharmer:
It depends on the how your browser handles CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Internet Explorer 6, Netscape, some versions of Opera, and some versions of Chrome do not work well on this blog. I've found Firefox works best but it crashes sometimes on Linux most likely because of all the Flash ads on Wunderground.

PDA browsers, phone browsers, and portable device browsers are hit and miss with this blog. Unfortunately, the lite version, iPhone version, and mobile version of Wunderground do not show blog comments.

Could I be spending too much time trying to view this blog on every portable device, browser and computer I have access to?


I have tried Firefox twice and crashed my PC twice. Never again.
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Blog update. Back later. All in the path of Paula, please stay safe.
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Quoting Grothar:


That is good, Canes. Did your decision to go into psychology have anything to do by being on this blog so long? You could have some good case studies here. LOL
I was thinking the same thing...LOL
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1269
Quoting pottery:
There is a radio station here, FM100.
They have come up with a format called '100 days of Christmas'.
Been playing 'Frosty' and stuff for weeks....

Good Lord, lend a Hand!


Don't give GeoffWPB any encouragement. We'll be listening to Bing Crosby all night.
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
BTW...Post 503 will un-stretch the blog for those of you experiencing that.
It depends on the how your browser handles CSS (Cascading Style Sheets). Internet Explorer 6, Netscape, some versions of Safari, some versions of Opera, and some versions of Chrome do not work well on this blog. I've found Firefox works best but it crashes sometimes on Linux most likely because of all the Flash ads on Wunderground.

PDA browsers, phone browsers, and portable device browsers are hit and miss with this blog. Unfortunately, the lite version, iPhone version, and mobile version of Wunderground do not show blog comments.

Could I be spending too much time trying to view this blog on every portable device, browser and computer I have access to?
Member Since: September 1, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1269
Quoting caneswatch:


Maybe it's because I have days off from college. BTW my friend (and to those of you who don't know, my college doesn't have meteorology), I am switching my major from journalism to psychology.


That is good, Canes. Did your decision to go into psychology have anything to do by being on this blog so long? You could have some good case studies here. LOL
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Ike...what kind of job do you have that you can post so much?

A PostMan???
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There is a radio station here, FM100.
They have come up with a format called '100 days of Christmas'.
Been playing 'Frosty' and stuff for weeks....

Good Lord, lend a Hand!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Ike...what kind of job do you have that you can post so much?


Must be similar to yours if you are always on when he is?
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546. IKE
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Ike...what kind of job do you have that you can post so much?


Self-employed sales. Plus I post year round.

But avoid GW.
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Grothar:


If you went to bed at a decent hour, you wouldn't have to be insulted.


Maybe it's because I have days off from college. BTW my friend (and to those of you who don't know, my college doesn't have meteorology), I am switching my major from journalism to psychology.
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Pottery...LOL...I'm getting close!
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Is it time for Christmas music?


No, but hum a few bars of "I'll fly Away" and it should make some of us happy.
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Ike...what kind of job do you have that you can post so much?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Is it time for Christmas music?

NO!!!!!
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Quoting oracle28:


is it just me, or is the XTRP pointing at NYC?


Just you, and any other very s-l-o-w people on this blog. (Hey, I promised to buy you a new joke book, if you want; want to take me up on it?) :-)
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13508
18L/TS/P
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53518
Quoting miajrz:

In an away uniform, lol.


Great comeback.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Paula stationary.


Yep.
Not moving much at all.
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Is it time for Christmas music?
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
534. IKE
Florida is cone-less...


Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting Grothar:


Wasn't that a Sport's cologne?

In an away uniform, lol.
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Poor little Paula..she tried so hard.. I give her an "A" for effort.
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Quoting Grothar:


My blog is not stretched.

Sorry to hear that.
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Quoting miajrz:

With you, but keep remembering Fermi's Paradox.


Wasn't that a Sport's cologne?
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529. IKE
HURRICANE PAULA DISCUSSION NUMBER 11
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182010
1000 PM CDT WED OCT 13 2010

ALTHOUGH THE CLOUD PATTERN OF PAULA HAS GRADUALLY DETERIORATED THIS
EVENING...THE EYE HAS REMAINED FAIRLY WELL INTACT IN CUBAN RADAR
IMAGERY. A BLEND OF DVORAK T AND CI NUMBERS FROM SAB AND TAFB
SUPPORT LOWERING THE INITIAL INTENSITY TO 70 KT. THE NEXT
RECONNAISSANCE MISSION IS SCHEDULED TO REACH PAULA AROUND 0900 UTC.

PAULA IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO...PRIMARILY
DUE TO STRONG SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR AND DRIER AIR THAT IS ADVECTING
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO TOWARD THE CYCLONE. IN ADDITION...THE
EXPECTED LAND INTERACTION WITH WESTERN CUBA WILL LIKELY HASTEN THE
DEMISE OF THE SMALL HURRICANE. PAULA IS FORECAST TO BECOME A
TROPICAL STORM ON THURSDAY AND DEGENERATE TO A REMNANT LOW WITHIN
A COUPLE OF DAYS.

THE HURRICANE HAS BEEN DRIFTING NORTHEASTWARD DURING THE PAST FEW
HOURS. PAULA IS FORECAST TO TURN EAST-NORTHEAST...THEN EAST DURING
THE NEXT DAY OR SO. IF THE HURRICANE WEAKENS FASTER THAN PREDICTED
BELOW...IT IS POSSIBLE THAT IT WILL MOVE SOUTHEASTWARD IN
NORTHWESTERLY LOW-LEVEL FLOW AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS OVER THE GULF
OF MEXICO. THE LATTER SOLUTION IS FAVORED BY THE UKMET...GFS...AND
ECMWF MODELS. THE NEW NHC TRACK IS ADJUSTED TOWARD THAT
SCENARIO...BUT LIES NORTH OF THE MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS.

Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
000
WTNT43 KNHC 140237
TCDAT3
HURRICANE PAULA DISCUSSION NUMBER 11
NWS TPC/NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER MIAMI FL AL182010
1000 PM CDT WED OCT 13 2010

ALTHOUGH THE CLOUD PATTERN OF PAULA HAS GRADUALLY DETERIORATED THIS
EVENING...THE EYE HAS REMAINED FAIRLY WELL INTACT IN CUBAN RADAR
IMAGERY. A BLEND OF DVORAK T AND CI NUMBERS FROM SAB AND TAFB
SUPPORT LOWERING THE INITIAL INTENSITY TO 70 KT. THE NEXT
RECONNAISSANCE MISSION IS SCHEDULED TO REACH PAULA AROUND 0900 UTC.

PAULA IS EXPECTED TO WEAKEN DURING THE NEXT DAY OR SO...PRIMARILY
DUE TO STRONG SOUTHWESTERLY SHEAR AND DRIER AIR THAT IS ADVECTING
OVER THE GULF OF MEXICO TOWARD THE CYCLONE. IN ADDITION...THE
EXPECTED LAND INTERACTION WITH WESTERN CUBA WILL LIKELY HASTEN THE
DEMISE OF THE SMALL HURRICANE. PAULA IS FORECAST TO BECOME A
TROPICAL STORM ON THURSDAY AND DEGENERATE TO A REMNANT LOW WITHIN
A COUPLE OF DAYS.

THE HURRICANE HAS BEEN DRIFTING NORTHEASTWARD DURING THE PAST FEW
HOURS. PAULA IS FORECAST TO TURN EAST-NORTHEAST...THEN EAST DURING
THE NEXT DAY OR SO. IF THE HURRICANE WEAKENS FASTER THAN PREDICTED
BELOW...IT IS POSSIBLE THAT IT WILL MOVE SOUTHEASTWARD IN
NORTHWESTERLY LOW-LEVEL FLOW AS HIGH PRESSURE BUILDS OVER THE GULF
OF MEXICO. THE LATTER SOLUTION IS FAVORED BY THE UKMET...GFS...AND
ECMWF MODELS. THE NEW NHC TRACK IS ADJUSTED TOWARD THAT
SCENARIO...BUT LIES NORTH OF THE MULTI-MODEL CONSENSUS.


FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 14/0300Z 21.9N 85.4W 70 KT
12HR VT 14/1200Z 22.3N 84.9W 60 KT
24HR VT 15/0000Z 22.7N 83.6W 50 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 15/1200Z 22.8N 82.1W 35 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 16/0000Z 22.5N 80.7W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72HR VT 17/0000Z 22.0N 79.5W 20 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96HR VT 18/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER BROWN

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 14/0300Z 21.9N 85.4W 70 KT
12HR VT 14/1200Z 22.3N 84.9W 60 KT
24HR VT 15/0000Z 22.7N 83.6W 50 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 15/1200Z 22.8N 82.1W 35 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 16/0000Z 22.5N 80.7W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72HR VT 17/0000Z 22.0N 79.5W 20 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96HR VT 18/0000Z...DISSIPATED
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
Paula stationary.

Member Since: September 2, 2009 Posts: 130 Comments: 21109
yes enough with that tech stuff
Member Since: July 15, 2006 Posts: 170 Comments: 53518
Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


there watching
if there even there
which is highly likely
considing the size of the universe
and us beings thinking
we be the only ones
is likley not true

With you, but keep remembering Fermi's Paradox.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
523. IKE
FORECAST POSITIONS AND MAX WINDS

INITIAL 14/0300Z 21.9N 85.4W 70 KT
12HR VT 14/1200Z 22.3N 84.9W 60 KT
24HR VT 15/0000Z 22.7N 83.6W 50 KT...INLAND
36HR VT 15/1200Z 22.8N 82.1W 35 KT...INLAND
48HR VT 16/0000Z 22.5N 80.7W 25 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
72HR VT 17/0000Z 22.0N 79.5W 20 KT...POST-TROP/REMNT LOW
96HR VT 18/0000Z...DISSIPATED

$$
FORECASTER BROWN
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
BTW...Post 503 will un-stretch the blog for those of you experiencing that.


My blog is not stretched.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
521. IKE
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

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

...PAULA WEAKENING AS IT APPROACHES WESTERN CUBA...
10:00 PM CDT Wed Oct 13
Location: 21.9°N 85.4°W
Max sustained: 80 mph
Moving: NE at 3 mph
Min pressure: 993 mb
Member Since: June 9, 2005 Posts: 23 Comments: 37858
When you watch the vapor loop, you can almost see Paula saying "stop choking me, I do not want to die"
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/goes/east/tatl/flash-wv.html
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Quoting Grothar:


I have told you not to get too technical on us.

Sorry. I do try to keep it simple.
sigh...
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Quoting caneswatch:


I have always known that :) He calls me mean things too.


If you went to bed at a decent hour, you wouldn't have to be insulted.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:

HURRICANE CENTER LOCATED NEAR 21.9N 85.4W AT 14/0300Z
POSITION ACCURATE WITHIN 15 NM

PRESENT MOVEMENT TOWARD THE NORTHEAST OR 35 DEGREES AT 3 KT

ESTIMATED MINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE 993 MB
MAX SUSTAINED WINDS 70 KT WITH GUSTS TO 85 KT.
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BTW...Post 503 will un-stretch the blog for those of you experiencing that.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102
I somehow get the feeling that everyone here is over the age of Puberty.
How very strange....
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Quoting KEEPEROFTHEGATE:


there watching
if there even there
which is highly likely
considing the size of the universe
and us beings thinking
we be the only ones
is likly not true


Borrowing a concept from Star Trek, If there are people watching us, they know we're not ready!
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Quoting pottery:

XTRP is not a model....
it's, well, er, YOU know....
It's just One Of Those Things.


I have told you not to get too technical on us.
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Quoting surfmom:
Not for a minute (I wouldn't) --Presently,I'm not very proud of us - - I have hope mind you.....LOL --but, present status -- 3 year olds with dangerous toys * sigh*


Even Stephen Hawking warned us recently about contacting ex-t life. He said "Be careful what you wish for, because you might get it"
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Quoting Grothar:


You know someone is going to explain to you what an XTRP model is.

XTRP is not a model....
it's, well, er, YOU know....
It's just One Of Those Things.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:


You know someone is going to explain to you what an XTRP model is.


Yes, explain that model to me, it rarely curves. It must use a basic linear equation..
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


He is rude like that. :)


I have always known that :) He calls me mean things too.
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Quoting Grothar:


You know someone is going to explain to you what an XTRP model is.


Can't believe you fell for it.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 11102

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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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