Friday, November 07, 2008

Hurricane Paloma: November 7 Update A

As expected, she's been steadily intensifying and was officially named a
hurricane last night. With nothing to stop her from intensifying, that's
not a big surprise.

She's heading N at 7mph, towards Grand Cayman. They are forecasting a NE
turn later today/tonight so she'll head to Little Cayman and Cayman
Brac. I think there's still a chance she'll stay northwards longer than
that track suggests, making landfall in Cuba west of the current
location - but all still within that cone of uncertainty. But I'm basing
my thinking on very sparse pressure data so I could be in la-la land
(how would you know the difference anyway, huh? ;) )

Winds are now estimated to be about 85 mph, central pressure 979 mb,
making her a mid-sized cat 1 (cat 1: 74-95mph). It looks like a clear
eye is struggling to form and the center of circulation is easy to spot.
The satellite data for the winds is not yet accessible (to me), so I'll
go along with the NHC's official wind speed. I did have a look at the
wind speed recorded on two buoys in that part of the Caribbean. Neither
are very close to the center but the highest gusts currently being
recorded are 27 mph. Also, convection has decreased since earlier this
morning, which could just be a diurnal variation or it could be that
she's not intensifying any further - too soon to tell (most likely a
diurnal variation). The models that were predicting a Major Hurricane
(cat 3 or higher) at landfall on Cuba have now backed off a bit and are
saying she'll be a cat 2.

Maybe she will get to become a cat 2, we'll see... but conditions are
already changing: the surface water temperatures underneath are a little
cooler - 27-28 deg C mostly, with small patches of 29 deg C and 25-26
deg C. She's also crossed the deepest warm water (upper 125m 26 deg C or
higher) - although it's still pretty deep with the upper 80-100m greater
than 26 deg C. Also, wind shear is beginning to pick up slowly. It now
ranges from 11mph in the south to 35 mph in the northern part of the
storm, and it will continue to increase as she moves northwards today
and tomorrow.

More later gators (and noles and all other sports people... ;) )

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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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