Tropical Storm Paula forming

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 19:30:GMT den 11. Oktober 2010

Share this Blog
2
+

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

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 512 - 462

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I say 70mph at 8pm!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting Tazmanian:



D


i dont think we will quite have a hurricane at 8 pm probably 70 my guess is we will get 70 tonight and become a hurricane and strengthen all day tomorrow and be mabie at 100 mph cat 2 if it stays off shore
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Good evening. Is there any chance she takes a track like Paloma or is that out of the question ?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i cant swear to it but it looks like Paula has made landfall near Honduras can anyone tell were the center of Paula is?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherman123456:
Bout time for a POLL!
Tropical Storm Paula at the 8:00 intermediate advisory:
A.60 MPH
B. 65 MPH
C.70 MPH
D. HURRICANE



D
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
504. JLPR2
Quoting weatherman123456:
Bout time for a POLL!
Tropical Storm Paula at the 8:00 intermediate advisory:
A.60 MPH
B. 65 MPH
C.70 MPH
D. HURRICANE


i'll go with C
Member Since: september 4, 2007 Posts: 7 Comments: 8735
Quoting CybrTeddy:
Looks like our last visible on Paula.

Night mode begins.

Is that an eye?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting FLdewey:
Doom level is rising fast... blog might get one last panic out of the season. Personally I think Florida should be more concerned about the upcoming fire season.

Toasty out there... crunch crunch crunch goes my yard.



psst.. its dat ridge pumpin away.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting weatherman123456:
Bout time for a POLL!
Tropical Storm Paula at the 8:00 intermediate advisory:
A.60 MPH
B. 65 MPH
C.70 MPH
D. HURRICANE
c
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting MiamiHurricanes09:
Cloud tops continue to cool within Paula's CDO when they should be waning due to the diurnal minimum. A slight upward bump in intensity at 8pm EDT will likely occur.
Hey Miami does it look like South Florida may get a visit from Paula ??? looks that way to me
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:

Yep...that track is a potential one too if it doesn't loop back like NHC is saying.
More like a long-term response to the second trough [7 days down the road?]. I don't think it's going to make that big loop, though. But still several scenarios out there. I don't like belizit's quasi-Mitch one.... that's nasty.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks pretty impressive for in Kerry's words a 'Nicole repeat'


Not even predicted to get into the Gulf.
Away from that dry air and shear.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Cloud tops continue to cool within Paula's CDO when they should be waning due to the diurnal minimum. A slight upward bump in intensity at 8pm EDT will likely occur.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
i think paula will be stronger than 60 at 8 pm anyone else agree?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Oh I know...but it's cool how you overlaid it. Much better than what the floaters have anyway!


Oh, my bad lol

Yeah its an awesome new program called GREarth.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
My analysis shows that Paula will choke on the dry air and be sheared apart well before it gets to the Gulf, if it ever does. Look what happened to Nicole for a preview. It may just fizz in situ.
This is a possibility IF it heads into the GoM. If it just crosses through the straits and along the N coast of Cuba, i.e. along the beginning of the Gulf Stream, it has much greater potential to hold together. And since any steering at that point would act to take it NE rather than due N or NW, that seems a more likely scenario to me. Shear in the WCar itself seems set to remain below 20kts over the next 5 days.

But we shall see....
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting KerryInNOLA:
My analysis shows that Paula will choke on the dry air and be sheared apart well before it gets to the Gulf, if it ever does. Look what happened to Nicole for a preview. It may just fizz in situ.


Ehh......

enough said.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting BahaHurican:
Speaking of "in the place to be", anybody seen KanKunKid recently? We've got belizit in place, but it looks like somewhere between Cozumel and Cancun is likely a landfall spot.... we need our onsite reporters...
I am waiting for the next model run this system can not go north for long as we have a very high pressure system to the north i hope its not a repeat to Huuricane Mitch
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Looks like our last visible on Paula.

Night mode begins.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
476. txjac
Havent seen him Baha
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
474. beell
Quoting ShenValleyFlyFish:
be a lot less said if that ruled and the the real surprise would be who was who


True enough, Shen. I'm happy with my own concept of who is who. And a little bit happier sometimes with where is who.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Yep. Models always change. Once Paula gets her act together, the models should hopefully get into better agreement. (And away from South Florida)
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting cat5hurricane:
Like your forecast track overlay.


Nope, its the official track.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Speaking of "in the place to be", anybody seen KanKunKid recently? We've got belizit in place, but it looks like somewhere between Cozumel and Cancun is likely a landfall spot.... we need our onsite reporters...
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting CybrTeddy:
When is next recon?


000
NOUS42 KNHC 101500
WEATHER RECONNAISSANCE FLIGHTS
CARCAH, NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER, MIAMI, FL.
1100 AM EDT SUN 10 OCTOBER 2010
SUBJECT: TROPICAL CYCLONE PLAN OF THE DAY (TCPOD)
VALID 11/1100Z TO 12/1100Z OCTOBER 2010
TCPOD NUMBER.....10-131

I. ATLANTIC REQUIREMENTS
1. SUSPECT SYSTEM (WESTERN CARIBBEAN)
FLIGHT ONE -- TEAL 70
A. 11/1800Z
B. AFXXX 01HHA INVEST
C. 11/1400Z
D. 14.5N 82.5W
E. 11/1730Z TO 11/2130Z
F. SFC TO 10,000 FT

FLIGHT TWO -- TEAL 71
A. 12/0600Z
B. AFXXX 0218A CYCLONE
C. 12/0200Z
D. 16.0N 83.5W
E. 12/0500Z TO 12/0900Z
F. SFC TO 15,000 FT

2. SUCCEEDING DAY OUTLOOK: CONTINUE 12-HRLY FIXES IF
SYSTEM DEVELOPS.
Member Since: september 21, 2005 Posts: 2 Comments: 310
Quoting BahaHurican:
I hope pple realize that meandering through this part of the CAR at this point in the season is not like... UNUSUAL or anything.... lol .... though I admit we tend to see it more with weaker systems than stronger ones.....
We in Belize will never ever forget Hurricane Mitch that was very torturous
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Wow an eye is forming on storms sat pic. Probably going RI on us.
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
Quoting jiminceiba:
I am right smack dab in the middle of the north coast of Honduras....and nothing here yet...no wind, no rain...well..a 5 minute drizzle...it just looks like another night of rain...but i will let you know if hell breaks loose...smile
Glad to see u in the blog, Jim, and I hope things stay less than hellacious for u.... stay safe!
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
When is next recon?
Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I say Paula's COC is now at 16.3N 84.3W moving NNW
Member Since: juni 13, 2009 Posts: 2 Comments: 12164

Viewing: 512 - 462

Page: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10 | 11 | 12 | 13 | 14 | 15 | 16 | 17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24 | 25 | 26 | 27 | 28 | 29Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.