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Originally posted by worldwatcher
At least there is lots of time for everyone to monitor this storm. I'm praying for the people in Central America, they really don't need any more rain.
As of 2 P.M. EDT, Tropical storm Wilma was located near 16.1 north... 80.0 West or about 225 miles (365 KM) East-Northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua-Honduras Border. Maximum sustained winds were estimated near 45 mph with higher gusts. The estimated minimum central pressure was 997 mb, or 29.44 inches.
Given the weak upper level shear and warm water Wilma could intensify into a hurricane within the next 24-36 hours
Hurricane Hunter Aircraft enroute to storm, appears to be 80 minutes out from center. Satellite images continue toshow significant improvement in the structure of the storm, and intensity. That initial intense convective
burst I mentioned around 1AM did in fact turn out to be the 'big event' that is permitting Wilma to finally
intensify. The storm also appears to have created it's primary core much further south - roughly near 16N/80W.
ALL the 12Z models are in agreement that the storm will eventually turn around and head NW and then Northward -
with GFS showing the storm ultimately crossing southern Florida as it heads NE away from the U.S. mainland -
sometime this coming weekend. A solid CAT 2 storm, with a shot of hitting a low end CAT 3 -- still seems like the
top end, but that's little more than an educated guess. And if it does in fact cross southern Florida, it will
likely be 1 full category weaker than whatever it's MAX intensity is while still in the Caribbean.
Energy markets responded with a large spike upwards, 4-8 percent depending on the product -- but most have returned
30-40% of those gains as the forecasts in general do not show a track to the northern Gulf area. For the energy
markets -- I'll have further commentary latter today.
A full update on Wilma will sent this evening - with a very brief update after getting the Recon's VORTEX and
Wilma has the potential to become a strong hurricane. The storm will slowly drift to the west over a deep layer of very warm water. With slow forward progress, Wilma will spend a long time over this heat source and could explode into a strong hurricane in a very short amount of time. From there, the storm should enter the southern Gulf of Mexico as a Category 3 hurricane and may be able to hold onto this strength as it approaches Florida early next week.
Where does Wilma fit into the record books? She is the 21st named storm of the season, which puts her two ahead of the 1995 season. This number also equals the number of storms set way back in 1933 before hurricanes were named. The names list for 2005 has been exhausted. Wilma is the last name on the list. So, if any more tropical storms develop, we will have to switch to the Greek alphabet. The next names on the list are Alpha, Beta and Gamma. If this happens, it will be the first time ever that the Greek alphabet has needed to be used since we began naming storms in 1950.
WILMA HAS BECOME NEARLY STATIONARY... BUT A MOTION TOWARD THE WEST
IS EXPECTED TO BEGIN LATER TONIGHT OR ON TUESDAY. STEERING
CURRENTS REMAIN WEAK AND ERRATIC MOTION IS POSSIBLE DURING THE NEXT
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS ARE NEAR 50 MPH... 85 KM/HR... WITH HIGHER
GUSTS. ADDITIONAL STRENGTHENING IS FORECAST DURING THE NEXT 24
HOURS... AND WILMA COULD BECOME A HURRICANE ON TUESDAY.
Statement as of 2:00 am EDT on October 18, 2005
Wilma has barely moved for the past several hours but a general
motion to the west is expected today followed by a gradual turn
toward the west-northwest. However...steering currents remain weak
and erratic motion is possible during the next 24 hours.
Maximum sustained winds remain near 65 mph...100 km/hr... with
higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast during the next 24
hours...and Wilma could become a hurricane later today.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — Mayor Ray Nagin warned residents Monday to prepare for another evacuation if Tropical Storm Wilma strengthened and moved toward the hurricane-weary city.
The storm's outer edge was near the Cayman Islands, but forecasts said it could pose a threat to the U.S. Gulf Coast this weekend.
...WILMA BECOMES THE 12TH HURRICANE OF THE SEASON AS IT HEADS
NORTHWESTWARD...EXPECTED TO STRENGTHEN FURTHER TODAY...
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT FOR HONDURAS FROM THE
HONDURAS/NICARAGUA BORDER WESTWARD TO CABO CAMARON.
A TROPICAL STORM WARNING AND A HURRICANE WATCH REMAIN IN EFFECT FOR
THE CAYMAN ISLANDS.
WILMA IS FORECAST TO BECOME A MAJOR HURRICANE IN THE NORTHWESTERN
CARIBBEAN SEA. ALL INTERESTS IN WESTERN CUBA...THE YUCATAN
PENINSULA...THE FLORIDA KEYS...AND THE FLORIDA PENINSULA SHOULD
CLOSELY MONITOR THE PROGRESS OF WILMA.