17 October 2005

TD24 upgraded to TS Wilma...

Over the weekend, TD24 has remained stationary for the most part, with a 
slight southwest drift during Sunday night.  The convection has 
gradually increased and is over the center of circulation.  At 09Z 
today, it was upgraded to the 21st named storm of the season, Wilma, and 
2005 is now tied with 1933 for the highest number of named storms.

At 18Z, Wilma was located at 16.1N 80.0W (halfway between Jamaica and 
Honduras) and creeping southward.  A westward drift is expected to 
commence today.  Intensity estimated by satellite methods is 40kts and 
997mb.  An aircraft will be in the storm later today for a more accurate 
intensity observation.  The ocean under it is plenty warm and deep to 
sustain a strong hurricane, and the forecast reflects that, bringing it 
to nearly CAT3 strength in 5 days.  The track is EXTREMELY uncertain, 
since the steering currents are so weak and erratic right now.  Stay 
tuned to the NHC for the latest track forecasts, but keep in mind that 
the 3-5 day positions are quite uncertain.  The 15Z official forecast 
takes it over the northeast tip if the Yucatan Peninsula in 5 days, then 
entering the Gulf of Mexico as a 95kt hurricane.  ALL Gulf coast 
residents shoudl be watching this very closely, from Mexico to Florida.

As of 15Z, the seasonal NTC stands at 198%, meaning that 2005 so far has 
been about twice as active as a typical entire season.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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