Hurricane Paula Reclassified as a Tropical Storm as it Reaches Cuba
Hurricane Paula is now being forecasted to be a tropical storm later Thursday as it reaches Cuba.
A tropical storm warning was posted for La Habana and Cuidad de la Habana provinces in Cuba while a tropical storm watch was in effect for the Florida Keys west of Craig Key, the National Hurricane Center in Miami said in its 5 a.m. EDT advisory.
The Category 1 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, was about 30 miles north of the western tip of Cuba, and about 275 miles west-southwest of Havana, the center said. It was tracking northeast at about 5 mph and was expected to pass near or over western Cuba Thursday.
Forecasters said Paula could produce 3-6 inches of rain with isolated maximum amounts of 10 inches possible. The hurricane center cautioned the rainfall could trigger flash flooding and mudslides.
A storm surge, accompanied by large and destructive waves, will raise water levels 2-4 feet above normal tide levels along the coast of western Cuba, the hurricane center said.