Hurricane Paula Report #2 Print

Hola everyone:

Thought you'd like to get an update on Hurricane Paula, or, as Jose Rubiera - Cuba's chief meteorologist par excellence called it - "el pigmeo" (the pygmy) because it's such a small hurricane.

As of midnight tonight (Wednesday), the most recent information we have is the following:

Paula is now a Category 1 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale of 1-5, with sustained winds of 130 kph and Central Pressure of 993. At midnight, it was 45 km from the most western tip of Cabo San Antonio in Pinar del Sur. But because it's so small, with an eye that's only some 14 km in diameter and hurricane winds that aren't even reaching Cabo San Antonio yet and tropical storm winds that only go about 90+ km from the eye - well, that's why it's "el pigmeo".

In other words, although the rains will probably be intense in some local areas and sustained in others, it's anticipated that what it will mainly bring to Cuba - and especially to Pinar del Rio - is rain. But even its rains are lessening.

However, the strong winds coming down from the immediate north of Cuba are continuing to push it a bit more south. The most recent map I have from the Instituto Meterologico is from 6pm, which you'll find in the attachment. Push the line from about mid-northern Pinar del Rio further south, and you'll get an idea of what the midnight map looked like.

In other words, by the time "el pigmeo" reaches the city of Havana, it might well be only a tropical depression or even a low pressure area.

And it's moving slowly - only 6 kph. So the anticipation is that it might well take a full day to go from western Pinar del Rio to eastern Pinar del Rio. Meanwhile, both Pinar del Rio and Isla de la Juventud remain in "Alarma", while the two Habanas (province and city, albeit names have changed for Provincia Habana) and Matanzas are in "Alerta" and the rest of the provinces up to Santa Clara are in "Informativa".

Between 4-5am today (Thursday), it's anticipated that a special "hurricane aircraft" will fly into Paula to get more up-to-date information. Unless "el pigmeo" suddenly becomes "el gigante" (the giant), this will be my "ultimo aviso" (last notice), as they say on the official hurricane announcements once the danger has passed and no more notices are being given.

As I mentioned earlier today, if Paula brings rains and no damages, it'll be very welcome indeed!

Abrazotes para tod@s de Susana