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Hurricane Season 2006: Paul (Eastern Pacific)
10.19.06
 
Tropical Depression Paul Raining on Northwestern Mexico

TRMM image of Tropical Storm Paul on October 25, 2006.
Click image to enlarge

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported at 2 a.m. PDT on Oct. 26 that Paul, once a Category 2 hurricane, is now a tropical depression over northwestern Mexico. Although Paul is inland over western Mexico, he's bringing heavy rains to the region. He's expected to dissipate later today.

This image from the Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite was taken on Oct. 25, 0003 UTC (5:03 p.m. PDT on Tues. Oct. 24) as Paul was approaching western Mexico. The image shows a top-down-view of the rain intensity obtained from TRMM's sensors. Estimated rain rates range from 1 millimeter to 40 millimeters (.3 to 1.57 inches) per hour. TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

At 2:00 a.m. PDT the center of Tropical Depression Paul was located near latitude 25.2 north and longitude 107.8 west or about 85 miles east-southeast of Los Mochis, Mexico. The depression was moving toward the north-northeast near 8 mph. Maximum sustained winds were near 30 mph with higher gusts. Paul is expected to dissipate later in the day on Oct. 26. Estimated minimum central pressure is 1008 millibars.

Paul is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 1 to 2 inches over the higher elevations of the Sierra Madre Occidental (mountains) today, Oct 26. These rains could produce life-threatening flash floods and mud slides. On Wed. Oct. 25, Paul dumped about 2 inches (58 millimeters) of rain on Mazatlan in the Sinaloa province.



Tropical Storm Paul Raining on Mexico

Tropical Storm Paul is the sixteenth named Pacific storm of the 2006 season. On Tues. Oct. 24, Paul was whipping up sustained winds of 100 kilometers per hour (65 miles per hour) at 11:00 PDT. Just one day before, Paul's sustained winds were 40 mph stronger.

Now, on Oct. 24, the center of Tropical Storm Paul was located near latitude 19.7 north, longitude 111.5 west or about 245 miles (395 km) south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas Mexico and about 405 miles (655 km) southwest of Mazatlan, Mexico. Paul is moving toward the north near 9 mph (15 km/hr) and a gradual turn toward the northeast is expected during the next 24 hours. Estimated minimum central pressure is 992 millibars.

Paul Raining on Baja and Western Mexico

Paul is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the extreme southern tip of Baja California, south of La Paz. Paul is also expected to produce 3 to 5 inches of rain over the west-central coast of Mexico from Teacapan to Mazatlan and Culiacan, with possible isolated maximum amounts of 8 to 10 inches over the higher elevations of the Sierra Madre Occidentals. A Tropical Storm Warning was in effect at 11:00 a.m. PDT for Baja California from Agua Blanca southward on the west coast, and from La Paz southward on the east coast.

A Satellite View of Paul's Winds

Image of Tropical Storm Paul from Quikscat


This satellite visualization of Hurricane Paul depicts wind speed in color and wind direction with small barbs. White barbs point to areas of heavy rain. The highest wind speeds, shown in purple, surround the center of the storm. The data were obtained by NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite on October 23, 2006 at 01:46 UTC (8:46 a.m. local time) when Paul's winds were 105 miles per hour. At that time, Paul appeared to be symmetrical, with wind direction barbs showing that the center of the storm had a well defined spiral pattern around the eye, and the strongest winds formed a bullseye pattern around the central calmer region of Paul's eye. However, measurements of Paul's wind strength showed sustained winds higher than those shown by QuikSCAT observations. This is because the power of the storm makes accurate measurements difficult.

The scatterometer sends pulses of microwave energy through the atmosphere to the ocean surface, and measures the energy that bounces back from the wind-roughened surface. The energy of the microwave pulses changes depending on wind speed and direction, giving scientists a way to monitor wind around the world. Also, the unusually heavy rain found in a cyclone distorts the microwave pulses in a number of ways, making a conversion to accurate wind speed difficult. Instead, the scatterometer provides a nice picture of the relative wind speeds within the storm and shows wind direction.



Hurricane Paul

As October drew to a close, Hurricane Paul was approaching the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. The sixteenth named Pacific storm of the 2006 season, Paul was whipping up sustained winds of 165 kilometers per hour (105 miles per hour) at the time of the National Hurricane Center’s 11:00 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time briefing on October 23. The storm track and intensity forecasts for Paul were still uncertain at that time, but landfall along the southern tip of Baja Peninsula as a strong storm was still a possibility.

Image of Hurricane Paul from Terra


In this image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite on October 22, 2006, the eye of Hurricane Paul was several hundreds kilometers southwest of Baja. A bright disk of clouds spirals counter-clockwise into a cloudy eye at the heart of the storm. In places, this smooth-seeming cloud deck is rippled by puffy cloud tops—a sign of thunderstorms lofting heat and moisture high into the atmosphere. The southern tip of Baja Peninsula appears along the top edge of the image. Image Credit: NASA/Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory/MODIS Rapid Response team.



Eastern Pacific's Hurricane Paul Headed Toward Mexico

Image of Tropical Storm Paul in the Eastern Pacific as seen by TRMM.


Residents of Mexico's Baja California peninsula woke up on Monday morning, Oct. 23, to find they are under a hurricane watch as Hurricane Paul heads their way.

A hurricane watch remains in effect for the southern Baja California peninsula from Agua Blanca southward on the west coast and from La Paz southward on the east coast.

At 5:00 a.m. PDT on Oct. 23, Hurricane Paul was packing sustained winds of 100 mph, making it a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Hurricane Paul's center was located near latitude 16.4 north and longitude 111.5 west, or about 400 miles south-southwest of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Paul is moving northwest near 6 mph, and is expected to turn northward. Estimated minimum central pressure is 973 millibars.

Paul grew out of a tropical disturbance that NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite was watching on Oct. 20. Over the weekend of Oct. 21, the disturbance strengthened into a depression, then a tropical storm, and now into a hurricane.

This TRMM satellite image of Hurricane Paul was taken on Oct. 22 at 5:15 p.m. PDT (00:15 UTC Oct. 23). It shows how heavy the rainfall is across the disturbance. The heaviest rain is around the eye (dark red), falling at around 45 millimeters per hour (2.2 inches per hour).



NASA Watching Disturbance in the Eastern Pacific; Atlantic Very Quiet

Image of tropical disturbance in the Eastern Pacific as seen by TRMM.


On Oct. 20, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) is watching an area of disturbed weather (rainfall) in the Pacific a couple hundred miles southwest of Acapulco, Mexico. Meanwhile, the Atlantic Ocean remains quiet.

The NHC reports that further development of the tropical disturbance, if any, will occur slowly. Locally heavy rainfall is still possible along coastal areas of southwest Mexico during the next day or two.

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission satellite (TRMM), placed into service in November 1997, provides valuable images and information on tropical cyclones using a combination of microwave and radar sensors. TRMM is well-suited to help monitor rainfall and hurricane activity in the East Pacific.

The first TRMM image was taken on Oct. 18 at 5:44 p.m. PDT (00:44 UTC Oct. 19). It shows how heavy the rainfall is across the disturbance.

The second image shows a 3-D view of the tropical disturbance using TRMM Precipitation Radar data collected at the same time as the first image. The tallest clouds (in red) reach around 17.5 kilometers (10.8 miles) high. Those areas are where the strongest rains are falling in the disturbance.

The local forecast calls for showers from Oct. 20 through Oct. 23 as the disturbance lingers in the area.

Looking at the Atlantic Ocean, the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico, on Oct. 20 the NHC noted widespread cloudiness and showers extending over much of the northeastern Caribbean, the Lesser Antilles, and adjacent Atlantic waters. That cloudiness is primarily associated with a broad area of low pressure that covers most of the region. Although shower activity has remained concentrated near the northern leeward islands, upper-level winds continue to be unfavorable for the development of a tropical cyclone.

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA.

 
 
Rob Gutro
Goddard Space Flight Center
(from NHC Reports)