Over the last 12 hours, Hurricane Paulette has moved directly across Bermuda, making landfall on the island this morning. According to local reports, over 24,000 residents are without power with much of the island to remain closed through Tuesday.
According to the Minister of National Security, Renee Ming, “No major issues have been reported overnight. The eye of Hurricane Paulette passed directly over the island as a Category 1 storm and we are now in the 2nd half of the storm.”
Paulette has strengthened into a Category 2 Hurricane as it gradually moves away from the island.
Paulette is the seventeenth tropical cyclone of the 2020 Atlantic Hurricane Season and the 6th system to attain hurricane classification. It is now the earliest 16th named storm in Atlantic history. The previous record was Philippe, which formed on September 17th, 2005.
This tropical cyclone is not forecast to directly impact Trinidad, Tobago, or the Lesser Antilles. However, Paulette has produced long-period swells that are propagating across the region, with adverse impacts possible across the Leewards and the Greater Antilles possible.
At 11:00 AM AST, the center of Hurricane Paulette was located near latitude 33.2 North, longitude 64.8 West. Paulette is moving toward the north near 14 mph (22 km/h), and this general motion should continue into this afternoon. A turn toward the northeast is expected later tonight followed by a turn toward the east-northeast and an increase in forward speed Tuesday night through Friday morning.
Maximum sustained winds are near 100 mph (155 km/h) with higher gusts. Additional strengthening through Tuesday night is likely as Paultette acclerates northeastward to east-northeastward. Gradual weakening is forecast to begin on Wednesday.
Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 45 miles (75 km) from the center and tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 175 miles (280 km). A weather station in Wreck Road, Bermuda recently reported a sustained wind of 80 mph (130 km/h) and a gust to 107 mph (170 km/h).
The estimated minimum central pressure is 970 millibars.
Watches & Warnings
A Hurricane Warning is in effect for:
A Hurricane Warning means that hurricane conditions are occurring on Bermuda in the warning area.
Hazards Affecting Land
WIND: Hurricane and tropical storm conditions should persist into the mid-afternoon hours across Bermuda
STORM SURGE: A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding on Bermuda in areas of onshore winds. Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves into this afternoon.
RAIN: Paulette will bring periods of heavy rain to Bermuda through today, with rainfall of 3 to 6 inches expected.
SURF: Swells generated by Paulette are affecting portions of the Leeward Islands, the Greater Antilles, the Bahamas, Bermuda, and the east coast of the United States. These swells are likely to cause life-threatening surf and rip current conditions. Please consult products from your local weather office.
This system is of no direct threat to the Windward Islands, including Trinidad and Tobago.
Hurricane Paulette Forecast Discussion
The 53rd Air Force Reserve hurricane hunter aircraft observed a peak 700 mb flight-level wind of 93 kt and an SFMR wind of 80 kt 25 miles to the northeast of the center of the 35-mile wide eye. The central pressure, also reported by the aircraft, has fallen to 970 mb. Based on these data, the initial intensity is increased to 85 kt for this advisory.
Additional strengthening is expected as Paulette moves away from Bermuda and accelerates northeastward over the North Atlantic. Paulette should be at or near major hurricane strength within the next 24 hours. At the 48 hour forecast period, weakening will commence as the cyclone becomes involved with a mid-latitude shortwave trough approaching from the Canadian Maritimes. Paulette should begin losing its tropical characteristics toward the end of the week. The peak intensity is increased a little at the 24 hour period to agree with the HCCA and IVCN intensity multi-models and follows these aids through the remaining portion of the forecast period.
The initial motion estimate is 355/12 kt. Paulette will begin accelerating northeastward by Tuesday morning then turn east-northeastward with a further increase in forward motion early Wednesday morning. A slower eastward to southeastward motion is forecast on Friday in response to a larger mid- to upper tropospheric cut-off low approaching the eastern Atlantic. The NHC forecast is a little faster than the previous one beyond the 36 hour period and basically lies down the middle of the tightly clustered deterministic and regional model guidance.
Forecast Discussion by Forecaster Berg from the NHC.