Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Hurricane Paula Update Wednesday

Unusually tiny Hurricane Paula continues to drift northward in the Caribbean between the Yucatan Peninsula and western Cuba. It maintains its Category 2 strength as of mid-day Wednesday with 100 mph sustained winds, but hurricane force winds extend out a mere 15 miles from the center of the storm! This is not typical for any hurricane. Even the tropical storm force winds extend out only 60 miles. So this compact, but intense, hurricane will be able to produce wind damage and heavy rainfall (3"-6") over a relatively small area of the Caribbean. Paula is expected to turn east in the coming days and track over Cuba and weaken. However, there is still some potential the outermost edges of the storm could brush the Florida Keys with rain and minimal wind. There is a Tropical Storm Watch for the Keys in case this northern track occurs, which some model data indicates could happen.