Hurricane Paulette slamming Bermuda with heavy rainfall, damaging winds
With three potential systems strengthening in the next week, there could be up to five tropical cyclones spinning simultaneously in the Atlantic.
Hurricane Paulette has done what hasn't been done since 2014 -- made landfall on the islands of Bermuda.
Paulette became a Category 1 hurricane Saturday night. As of 8 a.m. AST on Monday, maximum sustained winds were 95 mph and the hurricane's eye was located 40 miles north of Bermuda. The storm was moving north-northwestward at 12 mph. The eye passed right over the islands earlier Monday morning.
"Hurricane Paulette is expected to intensify as it moves away from Bermuda Monday," AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Matt Rinde said.
Paulette is forecast to reach major hurricane status at midweek as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of at least 111 mph.
According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), a weather observation station at the National Museum of Bermuda reported a wind gust to 96 mph (155 km/h), which is Category 2 strength. The Bermuda Weather Service reported that a gust to 117 mph (189 km/h) was measured at the Marine Operations Center, which is elevated at 290 ft above sea level. Winds of this force at this elevation were Category 3 strength.
"An island-wide power outage has resulted in more than 20,000
customers losing electrical service," the NHC said in an update. They added that hurricane-force winds and torrential rains were blasting the islands as the southern part of the storm, including the southern part of the eye wall moved northward.
This satellite-derived radar image shows Paulette's eye directly over Bermuda early Monday morning, Sept. 13, 2020. (AccuWeather)
A hurricane warning remains in effect for the islands.
With the center of Paulette moving directly over Bermuda, this marks the territory's first landfall since 2014, when hurricanes Fay and Gonzalo made back-to-back landfalls on the islands in mid-October.
"Flooding rain, damaging winds and a dangerous storm surge will impact the island community through Monday, and all storm preparations should already be complete," Rinde said.
Heavy rainfall from Paulette will last through Monday before winding down Monday evening and Monday night.
Rainfall totals across the islands will average 4-6 inches with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ of 8 inches. This rainfall can lead to some flooding across the islands, especially in low-lying and poor drainage areas.
Seas and surf will remain dangerous in the waters around Bermuda through Monday.
Despite Bermuda's strict building codes, property damage and power outages are likely given Paulette's track directly over the islands.
The strongest wind gusts will occur closest to the center of Paulette, with wind gusts of 100-120 mph with an AccuWeather Local StormMax™ wind gust of 125 mph. These winds will be capable of producing power outages that may last several days, along with some tree and structural damage likely as well.
Paulette will be a 2 on the AccuWeather RealImpact™ Scale for Hurricanes due to damaging winds and heavy, flooding rainfall. The RealImpact™ Scale is a six-point scale with ratings of less than one and 1 to 5 and accounts for the full range of impacts from tropical systems, rather than just wind like the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale.
"Paulette will accelerate northeastward over the open waters of the North Atlantic beginning Monday night, and that trend will continue through the rest of the week," Rinde said.
Paulette is forecast to peak in intensity as a Category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Wind Scale Monday night or early Tuesday over the open waters of the Atlantic.
Paulette is not expected to bring any impact to the eastern coast of the United States, other than perhaps some rougher surf.
Beyond Bermuda, Paulette is expected to track to the south of Newfoundland later in the week, but a period of rough seas is likely around the Canada province.
Paulette is occurring around the traditional peak of the Atlantic hurricane season, which is Sept. 10-11.
Several systems are being monitored over the basin in a season that has already produced 18 named systems and could go on to rival the historic 2005 season. During 2005, 28 named storms set a record for the most ever in a season, and the Greek alphabet was used to name systems for the first time.
Developing tropical storms are likely to continue the 2020 trend of systems setting new early-formation records in the coming days, with the development of Teddy likely on the near horizon.
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