The National Hurricane Center (NHC) upgraded Paula to a Category 1 hurricane this morning based on data from an Air Force reconnaissance flight during the night.
The center of Paula is located within the small central dense overcast currently about 190 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. These small tropical cyclones can strengthen rapidly, but they can also weaken rapidly.
The most likely scenario is for the wind shear to increase over Paula which will result in weakening over the next few days. Although a couple of the computer models indicate a track eventually moving northeastward over Cuba toward the Bahamas, most of the models indicate steering currents will collapse with a weaker Paula remaining over the extreme northwest Caribbean through the next five days.
Residents of South Florida shouldn’t be overly concerned at this time given the current NHC forecast, but we should always keep an eye on any hurricane over the northwest Caribbean at this time of year. It should be noted that the NHC is saying this is a low confidence forecast at the longer forecast periods.