Colleagues, FORECAST: HURRICANE PAULA is not going to have any impact on the USA, a least not this week. The tropical storm increased to a very minimal hurricane overnight, and will slightly intensify during the week but remain a Category one hurricane. Present location is off the Honduran coast with winds of 75 mph, moving NW at 10 mph. Most likely path this week is to move up near the channel that separates Cuba from the Yucatan and then move eastward toward Cuba about this weekend. After that, it is less clear at present.
DISCUSSION: As we discussed, HURRICANE PAULA, which for this week will not bet stronger than a category one hurricane, will probably weaken in a few days and after approaching Cuba, turn south into the Caribbean Sea this weekend. The frontal system will push it eastward, but the front is just too week this far south and PAULA is also too week to take advantage of the upper level winds, for the front to do much more than "swat" it a bit to the east as it passes by. If it could intensify more (and it will not) it would have headed through the Florida Straights. The intensity later int the week was the key piece of information that I was looking for to determine the track. The issues is: at what level of steering winds was going to guide PAULA's path. In any event, I do not see this storm impacting the US unless something happens next week, which is beyond my ability to see at this time. In a few days, the rest of PAULA's life will be revealed, but expect it to weaken from a Category 1 to a Tropical Storm in the meantime. We could use some Tropical Storm rains!
NEXT FORECAST: Wednesday morning
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Peter S. Ray
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