Paloma weakens to Tropical Depression, dissipates over Cuba
After making landfall and steadily losing strength over Cuba, Hurricane Paloma weakened to tropical storm status early on November 9th, then to a tropical depression that afternoon while stalling over the area.
In the image, the dissipation of Paloma is clearly visible; as we can see the system has lost its organization, particularly compared to images from November 8th in which the eye was easily identifiable.
Early on November 8th, Paloma had strengthened into Category 4 hurricane. That morning, the center of Paloma passed directly over Little Cayman and Cayman Brac with 220 km/h(140 mph) winds.
The system then 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.
Almost 1 million people along Cuba’s low-lying southern coast were evacuated in advance of the storm. Paloma caused widespread communications outages throughout the island, already harmed by Hurricanes Gustav and Ike earlier this year, and destroyed hundreds of homes.
On the Cayman Islands, Paloma knocked down trees, flooded low-lying areas and ripped roofs off buildings, but the Hazard Management Committee did not report any injuries.