Friday, November 07, 2008

Hurricane Paloma: November 7 Update B

Bother bother bother. She's still intensifying. Bother - those poor
little Cayman Islands! They're barely above sea level as it is. This
won't be pretty.

Now a cat 2, she's looking almost beautiful - a nice eye, currently
centered at about 18.6N, 81.1W. She's a bit ragged looking to the north
where there's some wind shear. Winds are 105 mph (central pressure:
967mb), making her a pretty decent strength cat 2 (cat 2 range:
96-110mph), and the convection has increased again (as suspected, it was
a cycle we saw earlier). The worst of the convection (strong
thunderstorms etc) is already over Grand Cayman, even though she's still
south of the island. She's moving NNE and if she keeps on that heading,
her eye will pass just east of Grand Cayman sometime in the middle of
the night and maybe just west of the remaining Cayman Islands tomorrow

She has slowed down further to 6mph though. Slowing down is not good. It
gives her time to grow to a cat 3, which, if it's going to happen, will
occur soon (within next 12 hours) - before she reaches Cuba. The wind
shear increases even more tomorrow (or rather she'll move into a higher
wind shear environment to her north), so The Plan is that she'll begin
to weaken before she gets as far north as Cuba (landfall on Sunday) -
(are you listening to The Plan Mother Nature??).

The computer model tracks are now all over the place (compared to
yesterday and today). They take her into Cuba (which we all agree on),
and then get a bit confused north of Cuba - some taking her
west/southwest - back towards er... Cuba ... hmm. That's 4 or 5 days
away yet though. One reason for this confusion is the uncertainty about
whether she will survive the increased wind shear tomorrow and
interaction with Cuba over the weekend and still emerge as a storm - I
don't think she will be much after her first bout with Cuba. The other
problem with the forecasting is that she's slowing down. That was not
expected. I don't have good resolution pressure maps for the Caribbean,
but slowing down indicates that she's bumping up against that high
pressure - she's trying to 'move uphill'. Slowing down, bad. High
resolution pressure maps would have been very nice in this case.

Well that's it for today. I'll send out another update tomorrow probably.

It's been a busy week... time for a glass of wine now methinks.

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DISCLAIMER: These remarks are just what I think/see regarding tropical
storms - not the opinion of any organization I represent. If you are
making an evacuation decision, please heed your local emergency management
and the National Hurricane Center's official forecast and the National
Weather Service announcements. This is not an official forecast. If I "run
away, run away" (Monty Python), I'll let you know.

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