24 October 2005

Wilma makes US landfall, Alpha dissipates...

At about 11Z this morning, Wilma made landfall as a powerful CAT3 
hurricane on Cape Romano, FL.  Upon exiting the Yucatan, it was a CAT2, 
but intensified back up to 110kts by the time it reached Florida.  
Reports are that places to the south of landfall got an 18' storm surge, 
including major surge damage in the Keys.  Also, the southern (right) 
eyewall went directly over Miami as a CAT2.  Even Havana, Cuba is under 
6' of water from Wilma.  A radar loop showing landfall in FL can be 
found at 
This is the 4th major hurricane landfall on the US this year, which is a 
new record... many years have had 3 major US landfalls, but never 4, 
until now.

At 15Z, Wilma was located at 26.9N 80.0W (very near West Palm Beach) and 
tracking NE at 22kts.  A cold front and trough are right on its heels so 
there is certainly some baroclinic interaction occurring, which means 
the extratropical transition is not far behind -- the forward speed 
indicates this as well.

Alpha was only a tropical storm for 3/4 of a day, then after crossing 
over the mountainous island of Hispaniola, it was dimished to a weak 
tropical depression, and is presently beginning to merge with Wilma's 
large circulation.  However, though Alpha was weak and short-lived, it 
did set the record for number of named storms in a season... 22.  And 
the season still has 5 weeks left!  The next few names on deck are Beta, 
Gamma, Delta, and Epsilon.  A tropical wave that left Africa on Oct 19 
is currently at about 45W and has maintained persistent convection and 
is worth keeping an eye on.

The NTC as of 15Z today is 230.3%, second only behind 2004 which was 
233% (if you count STS Nicole).  We have surpassed the mega years of 
1933, 1995, 1926, and 1950.
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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