Well, that was fast: barely 24 hours after being designated a tropical depression, Tropical Storm Paloma has officially become Hurricane Paloma as of 7:00 PM EST. Further rapid intensification is expected.
Details to come shortly.
UPDATE: From the 7pm NHC advisory:
…PALOMA RAPIDLY STRENGTHENS INTO A CATEGORY 1 HURRICANE…
. . . MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS HAVE INCREASED TO NEAR 75 MPH…120 KM/HR…WITH HIGHER GUSTS. PALOMA IS NOW A CATEGORY 1 HURRICANE ON THE SAFFIR-SIMPSON HURRICANE SCALE. PALOMA CONTINUES TO RAPIDLY ORGANIZE AND ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS LIKELY. PALOMA IS EXPECTED TO BECOME A CATEGORY 2 HURRICANE ON FRIDAY.
The model projections fall into two distinct camps, as they often do. One group is weaker and slower. The storm is sheared apart before Cuban landfall, or it lingers dying in the Caribbean. They other group is faster and stronger. The storm accelerates with the upper flow, maintaining its integrity longer. This would mean real trouble for Noordam. It would also echo what happened with Omar last month. I deem it the more probable scenario.
We shall see. Dr. Jeff Masters has more.