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Hurricane Paloma

Hurricane Paloma track
Hurricane Paloma track

Hurricane Paloma is the seventeenth tropical cyclone, sixteenth tropical storm, eighth hurricane and fifth major hurricane of the 2008 Atlantic hurricane season. Paloma developed out of a strong tropical disturbance off the eastern coast of Nicaragua and northern coast of Honduras on November 5. The disturbance had slowly developed into a tropical depression while hugging the coastline. The depression strengthened into a tropical storm early on November 6, then a hurricane later that day. The next day, Paloma intensified into a Category 2 hurricane then soon a Category 3. Early on November 8, Paloma continued to intensify and reached Category 4 intensity, and then weakened into a Category 3 again before making landfall in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba. Paloma weakened into a tropical storm on November 9 while moving over Cuba, where it stalled out. It dissipated later that evening.

The system that became Paloma formed off a low pressure system on November 3. The next day, the depression strengthened into Tropical Storm Paloma and on the evening of November 6, Paloma strengthened into a hurricane. Gradual strengthening continued on November 7, and Paloma became a Category 2 hurricane that afternoon, the first hurricane to reach such intensity in the Atlantic in November since Hurricane Michelle in 2001. It continued to strengthen at a more rapid pace and became a Category 3 hurricane that evening, and a Category 4 hurricane early on November 8. That day the center of Paloma passed directly over Little Cayman and Cayman Brac that morning with 140 mph (220 km/h) winds.

As it was leaving Cayman Islands Paloma continued northeastward, and hit its peak winds of 145 mph (230 km/h) by 4 p.m. EDT (2100 UTC), making it officially the second most powerful November hurricane by windspeed in recorded history, behind only Hurricane Lenny in 1999. Paloma held steady in intensity, but it suddenly weakened to a 125 mph (215 km/h) Category 3 before making landfall near Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba that evening, striking on the exact same day at the exact same place that the 1932 Cuba Hurricane did 76 years earlier.

After making landfall, Paloma steadily weakened over Cuba. It became a tropical storm early on November 9 and a tropical depression that afternoon while stalling over the area. Later that day, the last advisory was issued at 10:00 pm. EST.

In Sancti Spiritus Province in Cuba, over 85,000 students were evacuated from low-lying areas ahead of the projected arrival of Paloma with more evacuations yet to come. In the central-eastern province of Camagüey alone, more than 220,000 people had been moved from low-lying areas to higher ground. Another 170,000 people were evacuated in the eastern province of Las Tunas.

Cuban utility officials say Paloma's effect on the power grid was not as bad as the destruction caused by Gustav and Ike earlier in the season. Paloma did, however knock down power and telephone lines, as well as a major communications tower. The hurricane brought with it a 14 foot (4 meter) storm surge which moved the coastline inland by almost a mile (about 1.5 km) in Santa Cruz del Sur, doing extensive damage and many homes were damaged or destroyed. One death has been blamed on Paloma when a person drowned while crossing a river.

When Hurricane Paloma hit Cuba as a 125 mph storm on November 8, it marked the only time that 3 major hurricanes have hit Cuba in the same season; the other 2 were Gustav and Ike earlier this year, hitting at Category 4 and 3 intensity, respectively. This was the first use of the name Paloma in history. Paloma was the second latest-forming storm to reach Category 4 strength; only 1999's Lenny reached it at a later date than Paloma.

Hurricane Paloma in pictures
Residents ride in the back of a truck in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba A doll sits among debris from Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba
Residents ride in the back of a truck in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba . A doll sits among debris from Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba.
A woman stares at her destroyed house after the passage of Hurricane Paloma, Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba A woman stands outside her flooded house in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz, Camaguey, Cuba
A woman stares at her destroyed house after the passage of Hurricane Paloma in the town of Santa Cruz del Sur, in the eastern Cuban province of Camaguey, 600 km from Havana. A woman stands outside her flooded house in the aftermath of Hurricane Paloma in Santa Cruz Camaguey, Cuba.
Locals try to recover some belongings from the debris, Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba Jose Ramon Machado Ventura in Santa Cruz del Sur, Cuba
Locals try to recover some belongings from the debris of their destroyed houses after the passage of Hurricane Paloma in the town of Santa Cruz del Sur. Cuba's first Vice-President Jose Ramon Machado Ventura visits a zone damaged by Tropical Storm Paloma in Santa Cruz del Sur, Camaguey, Cuba
Hurricane Paloma - Sequence of Events (Public Advisories)



2008-11-09, 06.00 local time - Paloma is weakening rapidly as it moves across Cuba and has been downgraded to tropical storm and it will continue to weaken as it departs from Cuba today. Meanwhile, a storm will move through the interior West before bringing messy weather to the Plains early in the week. Paloma entered Cuba as Category Four hurricane. However, very quickly it weakened to a Category 1 hurricane thanks to mountainous terrain. When the storm made a landfall in Santa Cruz del Sur, Camaguey, it tied the record for second strongest Atlantic Hurricane in November. The strongest was Hurricane Lenny in 1999.

Today also marks the anniversary for a devastating hurricane with wind gusts of 200 that plowed into Cuba in 1932. The monstrous storm killed nearly 3,000 people.

A couple more inches of rain will be possible over eastern Cuba as Paloma departs and moves northeast toward the Bahamas. Life-threatening flash floods and mud slides could still impact Cuba today with the additional rainfall. Nuevitas, Cuba, has received 3.57 inches of rain into early this morning from the dangerous hurricane, and even higher amounts fell in the higher elevations. Destructive winds have also been blasting Cuba.

Paloma will be steered to the northeast over cooler water north of Cuba as wind shear strengthens. Both of these factors will lead to more weakening. By Monday morning, the system is expected to weaken to tropical storm strength about half way between Cuba and the central Bahamas.


2008-11-09, 04.00 local time - Extremely dangerous hurricane Paloma struck the eastern south shore of Cuba Saturday evening. It made landfall as a Category 4 storm near Santa Cruz del Sur but has rapidly weakened while crossing the mountainous terrain of Cuba. At 1:00 a.m. local time Sunday, Paloma was already downgraded to a Category 2 hurricane with winds of 100 mph. It will weaken further as it moves to the northeast and departs Cuba through Sunday morning. Flooding rain and strong winds will still lash eastern Cuba as it moves away.


2008-11-08 - Hurricane Paloma has strengthened to a Category Four storm before it lashed Cayman Islands where it has caused extensive flooding. Paloma is expected to weaken before it hits Cuba later today. The government of Cuba has issued a hurricane warning for the provinces of Granma and Holguin; it has, however, discontinued the warning for the province of Sancti Spiritus. A hurricane warning is still in effect in following Cuban provinces: Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas as well as the above mentioned Granma and Holguin. In the light of forthcoming hurricane, as well the previous ones (Gustav and Ike), Fidel Castro has opined that Cuban people should learn from every such event about the consequences of climate change and the ecologic unbalance. Hurricane Paloma will be third hurricane and fourth storm that has hit Cuba this year.


2008-11-07 – Hurricane Paloma has gathered strength overnight and come close to becoming category two storm. At 09.00 GMT its winds speed was 130km/hour and it was located some 700km south from central Cuban coast where it is expected to hit first early hours on Sunday, 9th November, after passing Cayman Islands. A hurricane watch has been issued for central and southern Cuban provinces (Sancti Spiritus, Ciego de Avila, Camaguey, Las Tunas and Granma). A hurricane watch means that overall hurricane conditions are expected in the area within next 36 hours. The Cuban Civil Defense authorities has given assurance that every province were guaranteeing the protection of public and economic resources. Paloma will be fourth hurricane to hit Cuba this season, following Gustav and Ike which caused extensive damage and destruction of crops and housing.

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cuba hurricanes .org - Cuba Recent Hurricanes, Hurricane Paloma