After 1.5 weeks of festering convection off the Nicaraguan coast, TD17 formed on Wednesday, and has quickly gotten better organized. It was upgraded to TS Paloma, the 16th named storm of the season, early Thursday. As of 15Z, Paloma's intensity was 40kts and 998mb, but is rapidly intensifying, and could be nearly a hurricane by the next advisory. It has persistent deep convection organized into an eyewall, and the eye is clearing out as I type this. It's located just off the corner of Honduras and Nicaragua, and crawling north toward western Cuba. However, it is expected to gradually turn more NE and cross central Cuba late this weekend as a powerful hurricane. This has unfortunately been a devastating year for Cuba... Fay, Gustav, Ike, and now Paloma.
You will find an updating radar loop of Paloma from Camaguey, Cuba at http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/paloma08/Paloma_06Nov08_cmw.gif
An aircraft is en route to more accurately determine the intensity, but it seems to be on a quick path to becoming the season's 8th hurricane. The ocean under the storm is deep and warm, and the vertical wind shear is minimal. This is a climatologically favored time of year for these western Caribbean storms that head northeast and cross over Cuba.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.