Tropical Storm Paula forming

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

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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

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Quoting reedzone:


Paula is becoming better organized this morning. I don't think dry air was a big issue on the convection collapse. As another blogger mentioned above, Alex went through the same thing. I expect Paula to become a Category 2 storm later today as conditions are favorable for further strengthening.


That's what I'm thinking too, until it gets closer to that shear it still has room to strengthen. HH Aircraft leaves in 30 mins.
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
cat5....But that might not be a Florida hit until next August 12th as slow as this is going
Fine by me...more time to kick back some more. 12 ounce curl time...gonna get some big ole biceps.
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1360. divdog
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
If one more person says that this thing is heading towards south Florida(which it isn't) I'm going to, to, to, to have a Bud Light Lime.. Is that south Florida landfall a "DEFAULT" when you buy a new computer ??

Palm Beach county here
He can't help himself from predicting sfla.
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Quoting Floodman:


I don't know what GFS he's looking at; the 06Z shows her drifting around but never getting above western Cuba
...ensembles,i think...
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:


Paula is becoming better organized this morning. I don't think dry air was a big issue on the convection collapse. As another blogger mentioned above, Alex went through the same thing. I expect Paula to become a Category 2 storm later today as conditions are favorable for further strengthening.
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cat5....But that might not be a Florida hit until next August 12th as slow as this is going
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1356. 7544
so far south fla not in the nhc cone we all know what that means lol

if paula inches further north that will change wait watch and see time
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1355. bwi
Such a little system. Less than two degrees north it's just a pleasant Caribbean morning: E winds at 12 kts, 1011mb.
Member Since: September 4, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1393
...but still yet proclaims it's going to FL and the models are certain of that.

Bud light lime time.
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1353. divdog
Quoting stillwaiting:
...nhc also had this as a invets at this time yesterday,when imo it was obvious it was atleast organized enough to be a td,hrs later first advisory a 60mph ts,the nhc is dam good,but not perfect and their are alot of things unsaid imo...so a fl impact is not out of th question at this time
Never said a sfla impact was out of the question. Most models do not support a sfla impact at this time. The nhc see no sfla impact at this time. If it does ever make it to sfla it will be weakened by shear to a ts at best. Dry air will also be coming down so things don't look all that good for poor little paula.
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SFL SFL SFL SFL have one on me....
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Complete Update



AOI
AOI AOI AOI

AOI AOI AOI

TS BUSTED FORECAST ALIBI
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Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
If one more person says that this thing is heading towards south Florida(which it isn't) I'm going to, to, to, to have a Bud Light Lime.. Is that south Florida landfall a "DEFAULT" when you buy a new computer ??

Palm Beach county here

I'm with you. I'm cracking one open for the hell of it.
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1349. afj3
Quoting afj3:

Maybe a hearty would be in order instead of a lager....

Sorry...hearty ale
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Quoting myway:


Please post the links


Cant, The Place im at Blocks the Website I Use to post Computer Models.

Go to ATCF page.
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1347. afj3
Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
If one more person says that this thing is heading towards south Florida(which it isn't) I'm going to, to, to, to have a Bud Light Lime.. Is that south Florida landfall a "DEFAULT" when you buy a new computer ??

Palm Beach county here

Maybe a hearty would be in order instead of a lager....
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1346. KEEPEROFTHEGATE (Mod)
wunder what the doc is going to say about paula

should be soon for update
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1345. afj3
Is latest NOGAPS run looking more like GFDL???
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If one more person says that this thing is heading towards south Florida(which it isn't) I'm going to, to, to, to have a Bud Light Lime.. Is that south Florida landfall a "DEFAULT" when you buy a new computer ??

Palm Beach county here
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Quoting divdog:


THE
ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT...HOWEVER...WILL LIKELY BECOME INCREASINGLY
LESS CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFICATION AS GLOBAL MODEL PREDICTIONS SHOW
STRONG WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY UPPER-LEVEL WINDS IMPACTING THE TROPICAL
CYCLONE WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS AND DRIER AIR PUSHING SOUTHWARD
TOWARD THE CIRCULATION LATER IN THE FORECAST PERIOD


NHC has this thing going nowhere near sfla.
...nhc also had this as a invets at this time yesterday,when imo it was obvious it was atleast organized enough to be a td,hrs later first advisory a 60mph ts,the nhc is dam good,but not perfect and their are alot of things unsaid imo...so a fl impact is not out of th question at this time
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1342. myway
Quoting sammywammybamy:


What You Just Posted has No Relation or Indication of any track.

It Simply States that Atmopsheric Conditons will Keep it from Attaining a Stronger Hurricane Status.

Track is Still up in the Air

But the GFS and a few reliable models take this into South Florida


Please post the links
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Post 1266 also Shows Some AP Models
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Quoting Floodman:


I don't know what GFS he's looking at; the 06Z shows her drifting around but never getting above western Cuba


The Models Grothar Posted a While Back
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1338. 7544
Quoting Floodman:


I don't know what GFS he's looking at; the 06Z shows her drifting around but never getting above western Cuba


maybe this one but then again maybe its richard to so fla and not paula chck let us know tia Link
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Each satellite picture looks better and better.
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1336. divdog
Quoting Floodman:


I don't know what GFS he's looking at; the 06Z shows her drifting around but never getting above western Cuba
Thats what I saw also but it is very hard to debate with him on the subject.
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't want to hear that sammy!!!


I don't know what GFS he's looking at; the 06Z shows her drifting around but never getting above western Cuba
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Quoting divdog:


THE
ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT...HOWEVER...WILL LIKELY BECOME INCREASINGLY
LESS CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFICATION AS GLOBAL MODEL PREDICTIONS SHOW
STRONG WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY UPPER-LEVEL WINDS IMPACTING THE TROPICAL
CYCLONE WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS AND DRIER AIR PUSHING SOUTHWARD
TOWARD THE CIRCULATION LATER IN THE FORECAST PERIOD



NHC has this thing going nowhere near sfla.


What You Just Posted has No Relation or Indication of any track.

It Simply States that Atmopsheric Conditons will Keep it from Attaining a Stronger Hurricane Status.

Track is Still up in the Air

But the GFS and a few reliable models take this into South Florida
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RAMSDIS Infrared Loop
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Convection Has Weakend , But the Overall Structure is Getting Better Organized
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1331. divdog
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Shear is actually Low.


THE
ATMOSPHERIC ENVIRONMENT...HOWEVER...WILL LIKELY BECOME INCREASINGLY
LESS CONDUCIVE FOR INTENSIFICATION AS GLOBAL MODEL PREDICTIONS SHOW
STRONG WEST-SOUTHWESTERLY UPPER-LEVEL WINDS IMPACTING THE TROPICAL
CYCLONE WITHIN A COUPLE OF DAYS AND DRIER AIR PUSHING SOUTHWARD
TOWARD THE CIRCULATION LATER IN THE FORECAST PERIOD


NHC has this thing going nowhere near sfla.
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Quoting islander101010:
if paula still truding along next wk in the same general area it will be almost impossible to get three more cyclones this yr one is a long shot is 3/4 possible?


Absolutely.
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1328. HadesGodWyvern (Mod)
Joint Typhoon Warning Center
Tropical Cyclone Formation Alert
09:00 AM UTC October 12 2010
=====================================

An area of convection (90W) located at 12.3N 142.8E or 150 NM southwest of Guam. Recent animated multispectral satellite imagery anda 0452z AMSU microwave pass indicates increased central convection and curved inflow wrapping into a more organized low level circulation center. At 0600z ship observations approximately 60 NM to the southwest of the low level circulation center reported southwesterly winds at 20 knots and a pressure ot 1007 MB. A 0028z ASCAT pass depicts a well defined low level circulation center with west/south-westerlies along the southern semi-circle and stronger east/north easterlies wrapping into the low level circulation center along the northern semi-circle. Upper level analysis reveals that the system is in a region of moderate vertical wind shear with good diffluence aloft, associated with the divergent region of a tropical upper tropospheric trough cell to the northwest. Additionally, a tropical upper tropospheric trough cell to the northeast of the system is beginning to have a positive effect on the system's poleward outflow.

Maximum sustained winds near the center is 18-22 knots with a minimum sea level pressure of 1006 MB. The potential of this disturbance to form into a significant tropical cyclone within the next 24 hours is UPGRADED TO GOOD.
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Quoting Grothar:


Don't want to hear that sammy!!!


Thats What the GFS and Alot of Models are Saying.

I Am Still Not Sure of where it will go.

I Think the track needs to shift west and north at 11am Though.
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Quoting toddbizz:
Just watched tropical update weatherchannel stating not a major threat to South Florida too much wind shear as it progresses to the North and East...small storms more apt to being torn apart by the weather pattern soon to be in place in the gulf...looks like they are taking the track south of Florida just above Cuba and out...so does anyone want to counter the "experts"....????
Nice win. Can I get a J E T S Jets Jets Jets!
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Just watched tropical update weatherchannel stating not a major threat to South Florida too much wind shear as it progresses to the North and East...small storms more apt to being torn apart by the weather pattern soon to be in place in the gulf...looks like they are taking the track south of Florida just above Cuba and out...so does anyone want to counter the "experts"....????
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1324. Grothar
Quoting sammywammybamy:


Paula heading to Sfla according to GFS


Don't want to hear that sammy!!!
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Dewey! Welcome back...
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Quoting sammywammybamy:


Shear is actually Low.
Not for long. Have you read the NHC 5am discussion yet? I like to say my hellos a little early :)
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I think Alex, and many other hurricanes have done this. It seems that Paula is just going through a restructuring stage and within the next few hours should be getting back in shape. The latest satellite imagery is already suggesting that.
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AL, 18, 2010101212, 182N, 855W, 65, 992, HU
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Quoting cat5hurricane:

....and Hello Shear! :)


Shear is actually Low.
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1318. Jax82
Interesting how our recent lull in activity the NAO was Positive, and now thats its Negative, we have Paula. It appears it will stay Negative for a little while.

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if paula still truding along next wk in the same general area it will be almost impossible to get three more cyclones this yr one is a long shot is 3/4 possible?
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Quoting FLdewey:


Shhhhhh... I are an optical illusion.



Morning... had to check your post count to be sure you were the real slim shady. ;-)


LOL! I know I guess someone likes me a little too much.
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Quoting Jax82:
The dry air in the GOM is getting smaller in size.



Dry Air is Shrinking in the Gulf...
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Quoting TropicalAnalystwx13:


Bye Dry Air!

....and Hello Shear! :)
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well it looks like cayman is out of the woods with this one!
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1312. FLdewey
Quoting KeysieLife:
And the dead has risen...DEWEY! Good to see you back man!


Shhhhhh... I are an optical illusion.

Quoting Jeff9641:


Good Morning Dewey!


Morning... had to check your post count to be sure you were the real slim shady. ;-)
Member Since: August 19, 2008 Posts: 42 Comments: 6269

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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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