20 October 2005

Wilma taking aim at the Yucatan...

The mighty Wilma has undergone an eyewall replacement cycle, meaning 
that the once tiny eyewall of yesterday has been replaced by a larger 
one.  This process typically weakens a storm a bit, but leaves room for 
further strengthening.  I think of it like a hermit crab leaving a shell 
it has outgrown and crawling into a new one... very vulnerable during 
the exchange, but has room to grow afterward.

The latest intensity as measured by aircraft is 130kts and 918mb, a very 
powerful CAT4 storm.  The area of hurricane-force winds is expanding 
too, now extending 75 miles from the center.  The aircraft pressure 
fixes, as well as eye diameters, are plotted at 
current as of Thursday afternoon.  I am generating an auto-updating 
radar loop from Cancun, available at 
A new image is added to the loop roughly every 30 minutes, so just 
refresh your browser if it's old.  Mexican radars are sometimes turned 
off at night, so there may not be any current images for several hours 
(hopefully that's not the case tonight).

The forecasts have consistently been too far north and too fast.  It is 
still creeping toward the Cancun/Cozumel area, and should directly hit 
them tomorrow afternoon as a very powerful and large CAT4 or even CAT5 
hurricane.  To make matters worse, the trough responsible for turning 
the storm northward might not be deep enough to whisk Wilma away, 
leaving it to almost stall over the Yucatan peninsula for a couple days.  
Cuba, Cancun, and Cozumel are all evacuating people, and Florida is 
about to start.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the northwest Yucatan peninsula and 
for all of western Cuba.  A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the rest 
of the Yucatan peninsula and Cozumel.  This is a potentially 
catastrophic storm for these resort areas who were already hit hard by 
CAT4 Emily just 3 months ago.  Thankfully, with this slower speed comes 
longer preparation times in Florida.  The southern tip of FL is now 
forecast to be hit Monday morning by a major hurricane, perhaps in the 
same area where Charley hit last year as a CAT4. The Keys are also 
especially vulnerable and in the strike zone.  As coastal residents 
often say... "it's the price we pay for living in paradise".
Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

No comments:

Post a Comment