Saturday, November 08, 2008

Hurricane Paloma: November 8 Update A

!?$$?!?*#!!?@# I expect a few people out there thinking or saying the same
thing about this system - maybe in a different language though. This storm
is *not* living up to its name...Paloma means Dove in spanish (thanks EE).
Mother Nature didn't get any of the memo's apparently.

She's now a mid-sized cat 4 (cat 4 range: 131-155mph) with 140 mph winds
(pressure: 943 mb), and although vertical wind shear is between 23-46 mph,
she's too strong for it alone to have a significant impact. She just
passed Cayman Brac - it was pretty much a direct hit with the eyewall
passing over the island. She's heading towards Cuba, officially moving NE
at 8mph. It looks to me like she's going east of the current center of
cone forecast so she'll make landfall in the southern part of the island
as a Major Hurricane overnight tonight. Her lovely clear eye is at about
20N, 79W.

The combined wind shear and interaction with Cuba will bring her down in
intensity, but the track beyond Cuba is still all over the place... most
models have her making a U-turn (in a no-U-turn zone may I add), and bring
her back to make landfall in Cuba again (possibly getting as far as the
Bahamas). The "cone of uncertainty" beyond Cuba is actually a "circle of
uncertainty". Is there still a part of Cuba that hasn't been hit this
year? I don't have any pressure map information at all at this point so I
can't even begin to comment on the track after Cuba. Maybe that's also the
problem with the models. There's just no data out there for some reason.

The only good thing I can say about this system is that there were at
least two computer models that predicted this sort of intensity...although
they then recomputed and backed off so I don't know if it was predicted
for the correct reasons, but still, it's worth keeping a closer eye on
those for future storms. I, of course, was off target with this one and am
considering a change in career to cheese maker (hmmm... cheese).

More later.

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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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