Hurricane Paula may linger in NW caribbean
Tropical Storm Paula strengthened to minimal hurricane status overnight. The storm continues to spin in the northwest Caribbean, and could linger there for several days, forecasters say. Top sustained winds are estimated at 75 mph.
What happens after that is less than clear, however. If the storm continues to strengthen in the region's warm waters, it could be picked up by prevailing west-southwesterly winds and accelerated off toward South Florida and northeastward into the Atlantic.
But forecasters expect the storm to be weakened by wind shear in a few days. If so, that could keep it stuck in the same region, throwing wind and rain toward the Yucatan and western Cuba for days.
The official forecast track (map)keeps the storm pretty much where it is for the next five days, although forecasters concede they don't have much confidence in the last few days of that prediction.