Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Hurricane Paula (2010)

Storm Active: October 11-15
On October 7, a broad area of low pressure developed in the southwestern Caribbean. Disorganized showers and thunderstorms remained associated with the system as it drifted generally to the northwest over the coming days. A low pressure center formed on October 9, and deepened thereafter, becoming a tropical depression during the morning of October 11, although not being formally recognized as a tropical system until later that afternoon. By that time, the cyclone was already a strong tropical storm, and was named Paula.

The system was in the midst of rapid intensification, and was a hurricane by the morning of October 12. It turned more to the northnorthwest over the next day, but continued to strengthen, exploding into a Category 2 (albeit a small one) by the afternoon of that same day, as it approached the Yucatan Peninsula. It stalled just offshore to the east later on October 12, still maintaining its peak intensity of 100 mph winds and a pressure of 981 mb. Since Paula was a small storm, only minimal rain and wind affected the Yucatan itself, and a jet stream just to the north of the system started to push Paula to the east and weaken it by the afternoon of October 13. The system accelerated eastward slightly, and made landfall in western Cuba on October 14, as it weakened to a tropical storm. Paula continued to degenerate, becoming a remnant low by October 15. It dissipated the next day. Paula was a very small storm, and damage was therefore limited, with only one fatality recorded.

Paula at peak intensity. The system remains very small, with a correspondingly small eye feature.

Track of Paula.

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