Paula's eyewall disintigrates as the storm weakens

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 PM GMT on October 14, 2010

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Data from an Air Force Hurricane Hunter aircraft indicates that Hurricane Paula continues to weaken, and the storm may no longer be a hurricane. The latest 8:06am EDT center report found the pressure had risen to 1002 mb, and the aircraft saw top winds at their flight level of 10,000 feet of just 60 mph between 6am and 9am EDT. The Hurricane Hunters did not report the existence of an eyewall, and Cuban radar (Figure 1) indicates that the southern portion of the eyewall has collapsed, leaving Paula with just 1/3 of an eyewall. Paula is moving at 5 mph along the northern coast of Cuba, and is bringing heavy rains to the western portion of the island. Cabo San Antonio on the western tip of Cuba has picked up 4.85" of rain so far from Paula, and a wind gust of 60 mph was reported on the western tip of the island. Heavy rains have also hit the Florida Keys this morning, with Key West picking up 0.62" inches of rain in just 30 minutes from a heavy rain squall that ended at 7:30am EDT. Weather radar out of Key West (Figure 2) noted several regions offshore where Paula has dumped 5+ inches of rain. High wind shear due to strong upper-level winds of 30 knots out of the south are tearing Paula apart, and satellite imagery shows the storm has a lopsided appearance due to the shear, and the low-level center is almost exposed to view. Low level spiral banding is no longer as impressive, and the intensity of Paula's thunderstorms has waned significantly over the past few hours.


Figure 1. Radar image from the Pinar del Rio radar in Cuba at 8:30am EDT on October 14, 2010, showing the eye of Paula along the northwest coast of Cuba. Image credit: Cuban Institute of Meteorology.


Figure 2. Radar-estimated precipitation for Paula from the Key West radar.

Forecast for Paula
The models have come into better agreement on the future track of Paula, with the storm expected to move along the north coast of Cuba or just inland during the next three days. On this track, Paula will move over Cuba's capital, Havana, tonight and Friday morning, and bring heavy rains of 3 - 6 inches to the most populous region of the country. An extended period of time over mountainous Cuba will likely destroy a small storm like Paula within 48 hours, particularly since the storm will be under 30+ knots of wind shear. A path just off the coast will let Paula live a little longer, but not much longer. The models are pretty unanimous in showing that wind shear will pull Paula apart over the next two days regardless of whether or not the center stays over water. Tropical storm force winds extend out just 50 miles from Paula's center, so it is unlikely that the Florida Keys will experience sustained winds of 39+ mph. The 5am EDT wind probability product from NHC gives Key West a 40% chance of receiving tropical storm force winds; these odds are 83% for Havana. Havana may receive some minor wind damage from Paula, but it currently appears that heavy rain will be the major threat from Paula. The hurricane could easily dump more than ten inches over mountainous regions of Cuba, creating flooding hazards.


Figure 3. True color satellite image of Paula taken by the MODIS instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite at 2:35pm EDT October 13, 2010. Image credit: NASA.

Elsewhere in the tropics
The NOGAPS and GFS models are predicting the formation of a tropical depression 5 - 6 days from now, in the southern Caribbean off the coast of Nicaragua. The storm is predicted to move west-northwest over Nicaragua and Honduras (the NOGAPS model forecast) or northwards towards the Cayman Islands and Jamaica (the GFS model forecast.) The GFS model has been pretty reliable in forecasting the genesis of new tropical depressions this year, and the fact that we have two major models predicting the formation of a new Caribbean tropical depression next week is worth paying attention to.

In the Western Pacific, Tropical Storm Megi is nearing typhoon strength, and is predicted to intensify into a major typhoon that will strike the northern Philippine Island of Luzon on Sunday night or Monday morning.

Next update
I'll have an update this afternoon.

Jeff Masters

Hurricane Paula (LRandyB)
Hurricane Paula

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Quoting kmanislander:


Is the radar "seeing" the surface low or the mid level rotation which would appear to have decoupled from the surface low ?.


Snipet from WU Jeopardy, with your host, Dr Jeff Masters (applause)

Question: Is the radar "seeing" the surface low or the mid level rotation which would appear to have decoupled from the surface low ?

Answer: What is the Surface Low. Correct for $1200.

May I have "Pesky, Paula Puns" for $1400, please?
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
Matthew, Chapter VI, 34.

:O)
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Quoting sammywammybamy:
You Can See the Center of Paula on the Key West Radar :



Is the radar "seeing" the surface low or the mid level rotation which would appear to have decoupled from the surface low ?.
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Quoting Levi32:


We just got the coordinates from the recon. 22.93N, 83.13W, just over the northern coast of Cuba.


How do you explain the pass then ?. It seems to show the center more on the South than the N coast
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Quoting Bordonaro:

I know we're all joking about Bonnie, however Richard really concerns me!!!
Matthew, Chapter VI, 34.
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Quoting kmanislander:
Paula may have a surprise or two in store as to coordinates based upon this ASCAT pass today.



We just got the coordinates from the recon. 22.93N, 83.13W, just over the northern coast of Cuba.
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Quoting Levi32:
12z and 18z model cycles have suddenly come into good agreement on Paula going through the Florida Straights and on out to the ENE, in agreement with my track from yesterday, supporting the idea that this will not get stuck in the Caribbean.



The other models have finally caught on to the XTRP model, resulting in good model consensus, and high confidence in the forecast of a linear ENE path.
Member Since: July 25, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 596
Paula may have a surprise or two in store as to coordinates based upon this ASCAT pass today.

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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
If a 1/2 beer can blows over and no one notices is it really a total loss? Questioning minds want to know.

I know we're all joking about Bonnie, however Richard really concerns me!!!
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Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
If a 1/2 beer can blows over and no one notices is it really a total loss? Questioning minds want to know.
'May depend on whether it was half-empty or half-full?

Quoting Seastep:
Still hanging on, though.

1001mb and 68mph were found.
It's amazing with the shear and dry air, and that could raise concern of her trending south through Cuba and re-emerging as some have posted here with reference to some of the model runs.
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Quoting LightningCharmer:
I heard a report of a half can of beer blowing over unnoticed resulting in a total loss during Bonnie. Had it been full, this might not be such a sad story.
If a 1/2 beer can blows over and no one notices is it really a total loss? Questioning minds want to know.
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Still hanging on, though.

1001mb and 68mph were found.
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12z and 18z model cycles have suddenly come into good agreement on Paula going through the Florida Straights and on out to the ENE, in agreement with my track from yesterday, supporting the idea that this will not get stuck in the Caribbean.

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Quoting DookiePBC:


Ummm...that's why we have insurance. ;-)


Umm, that would only be covered by flood insurance not wind - standard response by insurers
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Quoting TampaSpin:
Gang Paula has decoupled. The ULL features are what you see the big blob and on radar while the LLC has moved inland into Cuba and almost moving ESE!


I'm thinking she just may finally have decoupled. Frame or two more and it should be clear.
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Quoting LightningCharmer:
I heard a report of a half can of beer blowing over unnoticed resulting in a total loss during Bonnie. Had it been full, this might not be such a sad story.


Ummm...that's why we have insurance. ;-)
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Quoting Grothar:


Noise must have been deafening.


Oh it was loud. I can't help but laughing while i'm writing this.
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Quoting Grothar:


Anyone have a video of that?


I don't know if I could watch it. Might be too graphic for me to take and hold it together.
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Quoting Grothar:


Anyone have a video of that?
Could have been the neighbor...I see your point.
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Quoting caneswatch:


I lost a twig. It's no laughing matter.


Noise must have been deafening.
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Quoting PensacolaDoug:
Now we wait for Dick.
I say we call him Rich, and think of the d word.
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Quoting LightningCharmer:
I heard a report of a half can of beer blowing over unnoticed resulting in a total loss during Bonnie. Had it been full, this might not be such a sad story.


Anyone have a video of that?
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Gang Paula has decoupled. The ULL features are what you see the big blob and on radar while the LLC has moved inland into Cuba and almost moving ESE!
Member Since: September 2, 2007 Posts: 178 Comments: 20439
Quoting NOLALawyer:
Looks like her convection is getting blown over Key West. What are the conditions like down there??
Constant light rain, no wind. NO T&L at the moment. Edit: I forgot to mention TWC is here with a satelitte truck. NOW I know this is a nothing of a storm!
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I think Paula with emerge south of Cuba later tonight weakened but her COC vigorous and intact, will be interesting to see this one unfold, already moving ESE/SE imo, picking one of the narrowest strips of land to cross too looks like.
So should those in south peninsular Florida and the Keys wish for the south turn or have her bring what she has now, and not what she might have in the second go-around?
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Quoting Grothar:


Figured you would find a way to best me. By the way, what system is that over Cuba?
Wasn't about besting you...only checking out what you said. Evaluating the statement with other sources, etc.

Take care (especially on the 8 steps from the desk to the Metamucil). L8R.
Member Since: August 16, 2007 Posts: 6 Comments: 12461
Quoting Grothar:


Hey, I lost 3 leaves off my tree during Bonnie, that was no joke.
I heard a report of a half can of beer blowing over unnoticed resulting in a total loss during Bonnie. Had it been full, this might not be such a sad story.
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Quoting Grothar:


Hey, I lost 3 leaves off my tree during Bonnie, that was no joke.


I lost a twig. It's no laughing matter.
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Quoting Thaale:


Or we could just call him Rick. Or even...
call him Rich....in light of recent events this seems appropriate on many levels.
A perfect storm of names and innuendo if ever there was one.
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Quoting DookiePBC:


In other words, the weather is much worse than during Bonnie.


Hey, I lost 3 leaves off my tree during Bonnie, that was no joke.
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Quoting stormpetrol:
I think Paula with emerge south of Cuba later tonight weakened but her COC vigorous and intact, will be interesting to see this one unfold, already moving ESE/SE imo, picking one of the narrowest strips of land to cross too looks like.


Could be, but CMC is all alone now in supporting that scenario with the 12Z runs.

Wonder if NHC will adjust the cone accordingly at 5pm.

Haven't seen the 12Z ECMWF yet.

EDIT: Forgot that they don't change the cone at 5pm.
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Should be an absolutely gorgeous weekend for all of S FL.
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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.