12 October 2010

Hurricane Paula heading for the Yucatan...

A lot has happened in 24 hours... the disturbance that was off the Nicaragua/Honduras border rather quickly got better organized.  A plane flew into the system and found much stronger winds than expected, and at 21Z yesterday, it was upgraded to TS Paula with 50kt winds and a 1000mb central pressure.  Just 12 hours later, it was upgraded to Hurricane Paula, the 9th of the season.  The intensity as of 15Z today is 65kts and 991mb, and it's located 150 miles SSE of Cozumel, Mexico and heading NNW at 9kts.  Hurricane warnings are in effect for the eastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/storm_graphics/AT18/refresh/AL1810W_NL+gif/

It is forecast to continue intensifying, and also to slow down.  In 5 days, it is forecast to be in the Yucatan Straights, not far from where it is now.  However, increasing shear is expected to hit it in about 3 days, so it might not make it to a major hurricane.

You can monitor its structure and movement via a radar loop from Cancun: http://einstein.atmos.colostate.edu/~mcnoldy/tropics/paula10/Paula_12-13Oct10.gif

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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