Tropical Storm Paula forming

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

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


The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

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Good night everyone.

Should be an interesting morning.
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Quoting Grothar:
She is really getting intense. May have to lower my heart-monitor with all this excitement.



Don’t lower it too much. BTW, I already have your eulogy written out. It’s really good. You would be proud.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting Grothar:
She is really getting intense. May have to lower my heart-monitor with all this excitement.

You may want to ask your doctor for blood pressure meds. JJ
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18L/TS/P/CX
MARK
16.45N/84.86W

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Beginnings of an eye with really intense convection in the NE quad as seen with the white dot.

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803. srada
Hey Everyone!

Question..would the potential nor'eastern (if it develops) play a part in Paula's steering or would they be too far apart to feel the effects of one another?..the potential nor'eastern looks to be pretty strong on model runs..
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She is really getting intense. May have to lower my heart-monitor with all this excitement.

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Quoting texaswxtracker:
Do you think Paula will cross S. FL.?


u tell me? I live in SFLA..
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Here's my first tropical update I posted earlier today if anyone wants to check it out.

Link
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Hi Guys, just a brief hello.
It's Hell Week for my job with big deadline Friday.

PAULA!
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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Very intense convection wrapping around the center. I would probably say that this will be a hurricane tomorrow morning.


FULL IMAGE...i bet if we had recon theydfind a cane,paulas sat signature. is that of a tc about to start clearing out a eyewall,i bet by tomorrow morning she has a eye visible on sat!!!,100mph by this time tomorrow night

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Quoting Grothar:


If you want his E-mail, he won't mind. I will send it to you on WU, if you would like.


Thanks. I think I have it from the Global Hydrology site. I emailed him once when the site went down LOL
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Shear decreasing...


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Quoting Stormchaser2007:
Scatterometer caught some real good winds in Paula.


That would be enough evidence for an upgrade to hurricane status.
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Quoting CosmicEvents:
KMan....I appreciate your thoughts on the track. We'll wait and see.
.
.
Any thoughts on the intensity?
.
.
Be safe


If it drifts South near 20 N and hangs around the NW Caribbean in light steering and low shear for a couple of days Cat 3.
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Scatterometer caught some real good winds in Paula.

FULL IMAGE


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Link

dry air over the gulf definitely collapsing now. lack of wind shear to the north is allowing moisture to move deep into the southern gulf in the straits between cuba and yucatan. paula's outflow spinning back into the southwestern GOM is also penetrating deep into the dry air pocket.

last 2-3 runs show she may be stacking up some big cloud tops. she also looks like she has a nice cyclonic nature now.


it's gonna be interesting for the next 24 hrs, thats for sure :)
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Quoting kmanislander:


Thanks. That is the same as it was for Quikscat. Never any doubt about it.


If you want his E-mail, he won't mind. I will send it to you on WU, if you would like.
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Quoting SouthDadeFish:


Are you sure about that?

Wow, impressive.
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2345 satellite pass agrees with the 1000mb reading. (3.0 Dvorak)

DATE/TIME LAT LON CLASSIFICATION STORM
11/2345 UTC 16.3N 84.4W T3.0/3.0 PAULA
11/1745 UTC 15.6N 83.4W T2.5/2.5 98L
11/1145 UTC 15.1N 83.1W T2.0/2.0 98L
11/0545 UTC 14.2N 81.8W T2.0/2.0 98L
10/2345 UTC 13.9N 82.3W T1.5/2.0 98L
10/1745 UTC 13.4N 80.8W T2.0/2.0 98L
10/1145 UTC 12.8N 81.3W T1.5/1.5 98L
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Quoting PSLFLCaneVet:


LOL, that's the Queen's English. Very familiar to someone of his age.! How are things Grothar? Paula's trying to become the belle of the ball.


Quite well, thank you. Been posting about this situation for days, but no one paid attention. They just seem to ignore the elders on this blog.
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Quoting Grothar:
kman, this is for you. It is from Paul Chang at NOAA. See you were correct.

Hello Grothar,
Thanks for the email. I have been on travel so I apologize for the late reply. I browsed the blog posts and it seems that you all have figured out the ASCAT time notations properly. The time at the top of the page is the image creation time...it serves as the reference point (time/day) for the 22 hour data cutoff. The time at the bottom of the image below the swaths is the time of the data in the image at the middle latitude of that image. In general, the polar orbit will give coverage over a geographical area twice per day, but of course the 700km nadir gap in in the ASCAT swath (versus the continuous 1800km swath of QuikSCAT) decreases the odds of a "hit" on the areas of interest.

cheers,
paul




Thanks. That is the same as it was for Quikscat. Never any doubt about it.
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Quoting roatangardener:
evening all. roatan remains so creeeppy still right now. it rained for a few minutes a while ago but there isnt a movement in the air at all now. like a vacuum. will ck in later if anything changes. for those not familiar i am at 16.3 north and 86.5 west on the island of Roatan.
Someone(I think Baha) was asking about you earlier. Stay safe.
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Brand NEW

Eye wall seems to be in the works.

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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Lol%u2026.You%u2019re an arse!


LOL, that's the Queen's English. Very familiar to someone of his age.! How are things Grothar? Paula's trying to become the belle of the ball.
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Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
The SSMI microwave overpass missed Paula's circulation, but it's easy to see that it has yet to develop an eyewall.



Are you sure about that?

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kman, this is for you. It is from Paul Chang at NOAA. See you were correct.

Hello Grothar,
Thanks for the email. I have been on travel so I apologize for the late reply. I browsed the blog posts and it seems that you all have figured out the ASCAT time notations properly. The time at the top of the page is the image creation time...it serves as the reference point (time/day) for the 22 hour data cutoff. The time at the bottom of the image below the swaths is the time of the data in the image at the middle latitude of that image. In general, the polar orbit will give coverage over a geographical area twice per day, but of course the 700km nadir gap in in the ASCAT swath (versus the continuous 1800km swath of QuikSCAT) decreases the odds of a "hit" on the areas of interest.

cheers,
paul


Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Looking out from North East end of Roatan Bay Islands Camp Bay, wind is calm the reef sits about 1/4 mile off shore and the waves right now are nothing out of the ordinary, drizzling rain on and off. But it's early yet if my power holds I will tell you more later.
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KMan....I appreciate your thoughts on the track. We'll wait and see.
.
.
Any thoughts on the intensity?
.
.
Be safe
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Paula is growing rapidly. Definitely a hurricane by the next advisory. Just look at that core of convection.
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Hurricane by later tonight or tomorrow morning.
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Quoting Grothar:


Now you show up!
Just in time to prolong your agony.
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In short term shear and dry air do not appear to be factor. Only time and proximity to land are having any impact at this time. NHC must think shear will keep CAT 1 but that may change on next forecast and no one here would disagree.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
evening all. roatan remains so creeeppy still right now. it rained for a few minutes a while ago but there isnt a movement in the air at all now. like a vacuum. will ck in later if anything changes. for those not familiar i am at 16.3 north and 86.5 west on the island of Roatan.
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Quoting texaswxtracker:
Do you think Paula will cross S. FL.?


I live in SW FL, and the possibility of this system affecting is very real. Whether it's in the next few days or in the next 10 days I think Paula will eventually be a concern for S FL. If it can move fast enough, and intensify quick enough it would allow her to be caught by the trough and swept eastward. If she moves too slow, then it's a guessing and waiting game. IMO
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Quoting atmoaggie:
Oh, is it AARP hour at the WU? Another round of Metamucil on me!


Now you show up!
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762. JLPR2
Quoting kmanislander:
Very limited wind field right now though. Buoy 42057 South of the Caymans

Click on the graph icon in the table below to see a time series plot of the last five days of that observation.

Wind Direction (WDIR): S ( 170 deg true )
Wind Speed (WSPD): 5.8 kts
Wind Gust (GST): 7.8 kts
Wave Height (WVHT): 4.3 ft
Dominant Wave Period (DPD): 6 sec
Average Period (APD): 5.0 sec
Atmospheric Pressure (PRES): 29.85 in
Pressure Tendency (PTDY): 0.05 in ( Rising )
Air Temperature (ATMP): 81.9 �F
Water Temperature (WTMP): 84.2 �F
Dew Point (DEWP): 77.5 �F
Heat Index (HEAT): 90.1 �F


Yeah, Paula is really small.
Maybe that's why the models didn't pick her up.
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather

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