MESSAGE OF THE DAY
“Though the official forecast does not have Hurricane Paula making landfall in Florida, it is an unpredictable storm and residents and visitors across South Florida are urged to monitor its progress carefully,” said David Halstead, director of the Florida Division of Emergency Management. “Now is a good time to ensure your family disaster plan and supply kit are up-to-date and ready.”
CURRENT SITUATION - 11A.M.
o At 11 a.m. EDT, Hurricane Paula was located in the Yucatan Channel about 65 miles from the western tip of Cuba and 345 miles southwest of Key West.
o Paula is still a Category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale with maximum winds near 100 mph. However, some weakening is possible over the next two days.
o The National Hurricane Center has issued Tropical Storm Watches for the Florida Keys from Craig Key westward, including the Dry Tortugas. A Tropical Storm Watch means tropical storm force winds are possible in the Watch area within the next 48 hours.
o Based on the latest forecast, this system is expected to continue moving northward through the Yucatan Channel before turning northeast this afternoon. Strong upper level steering currents will move Paula eastward tomorrow, taking the system across the northern coast of Cuba over the next four to five days.
o Beyond 36 hours, the official forecast is somewhat uncertain and therefore, there is a small possibility that the center of Paula could move through the Florida Straits. A cold front moving through the state will pull tropical moisture from Paula northward into South Florida and rainfall amounts may approach two to four inches by Friday.
o The State Emergency Operations Center is closely monitoring the progress of Hurricane Paula and prepared to respond as necessary to support any impacted counties.
RECOMMENDED ACTIONS FOR THE PUBLIC
o Residents and visitors in South Florida are urged to monitor this system, review their family and business disaster supply plans and kits and make any updates necessary.
o Mariners in South Florida should make preparations to secure their vessels in safe harbor.
For more information on the Florida Division of Emergency Management and to GET A PLAN!, please visit: www.FloridaDisaster.org. Follow us on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/flsertinfo