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Hurricane Season 2005: Wilma
 
Latest Update - October 27, 2005 posted 1:57 p.m. EDT

Hurricane Wilma Floods Parts of Florida

Side by side images comparing flooding

Dark pools of water covered sections of Florida the day after Hurricane Wilma cut diagonally the state. The patterns of flooding shown in this image are more a reflection of land use than the intensity of the storm. Wilma moved from the Gulf of Mexico in the west, over the Everglades, and then pounded the populated eastern shore as it made its exit into the Atlantic. The Category 3 hurricane brought heavy rain, which caused the inland flooding seen here.

The Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite captured the top image on October 25, 2005. Shown in false color to increase the contrast between water and land, the image presents water in black and blue, vegetation in bright green, and clouds in pale blue and white. The lower image, taken on September 14, 2005, shows southern Florida under normal conditions.

The most obvious flooding is in the Everglades, where the wetlands readily soaked up the downpour. Elevated roads form pale strips of green through the wetlands, which are dark with water in the wake of the storm. Between the Everglades and Lake Okeechobee is a lighter green arch of agricultural land. Dark squares hint at the possibility of flooded fields, but the presence of water in a few fields in the September image also suggests that some of the flooding may be intentional. Along the eastern shore of the peninsula, it is as if someone drew a line to mark out the edge of the wetlands from the pale green, grey, and tan grid of cities, including Miami and Fort Lauderdale. In fact, the line defines the boundary of Everglades National Park in the south. To the east of the park, the wetlands have been drained as cities sprung up. Here, no flooding is obvious, but the image shows signs of run-off. The Atlantic is bright blue, tainted with sediment. The sediment may have entered the water from with flood water draining into the sea; it may be from storm-eroded beaches; or it may be sediment from the ocean floor brought to the surface with the churning of the sea under Wilma’s winds. The bright ocean color in the Gulf of Mexico west of Florida is almost certainly caused by sediment from the ocean floor.

NASA images courtesy Jesse Allen, based on data from the MODIS Rapid Response Team and the Goddard DAAC at NASA GSFC. (+ High Resolution .jpg #1 | + High Resolution .jpg #2)


Powerful Hurricane Wilma Pounds The Yucatan, Rakes Florida

Image from TRMM of Wilma
After setting the all time record for the lowest recorded pressure in the Atlantic basin as a powerful Category 5 hurricane in the western Caribbean, Hurricane Wilma weakened to a still powerful Category 4 storm. On October 21, 2005, Wilma slowly crossed over Cozumel as a strong Category 4 hurricane with sustained winds reported at up to 230 kilometers per hour (144 miles per hour) by the National Hurricane Center (NHC). The center of Wilma then drifted over the far northeastern tip of the Yucatan Peninsula delivering torrential rains and strong winds.

Before being caught up in the westerlies, Wilma stalled out over the Yucatan, resulting in a sustained period of heavy rain and flooding. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) based, near-real time Multi-satellite Precipitation Analysis (MPA) at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center provides estimates of rainfall over the global tropics. MPA rainfall totals due solely to Wilma are shown for the period 17 to 25 October 2005 with storm symbols marking the storm track. Rainfall totals on the order of 300 to 400 millimeters (12 to 16 inches: darker red areas) are located over the northeastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula.

After drifting over the Yucatan and weakening to a Category 2 storm, Wilma was picked up by a midlatitude trough. This caused the storm to accelerate off to the northeast across the southeastern Gulf of Mexico towards Florida where it made landfall on the morning of October 24 just south of Marco Island. Wilma raced across southern Florida with winds in excess of 160 km/hr (100 mph) in just 6 hours. This kept rainfall totals down. MPA rainfall amounts over Florida are generally 150 mm (6 inches or less: green areas).

TRMM is a joint mission between NASA and the Japanese space agency JAXA. Images produced by Hal Pierce (SSAI/NASA GSFC) and caption by Steve Lang (SSAI/NASA GSFC).


GOES latest images of Hurricane Wilma taken on October 25, 2005.Image to left: This image from NOAA’s GOES satellite, taken Oct. 25, 2005 at 12:02 p.m. EDT shows Hurricane Wilma in the far top right hand corner, heading northeast in the Atlantic Ocean. The cloud cover over the northeast U.S. is related to low pressure over Ohio and West Virginia, and a coastal low forming off the mid-Atlantic coast today. Click on image to view movie (no audio - 8 Mb). Credit: NASA/NOAA

Wilma Races Northeast into Atlantic

At 11 a.m. EDT, Tuesday, October 25: Although a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph, Wilma was weakening and losing her tropical characteristics as she raced at 53 mph up the Atlantic seaboard. Wilma’s center was located about 440 miles south-southwest of Halifax, Nova Scotia. Wilma is expected to remain offshore in the Atlantic. Forecasters said that Wilma should move north of the Gulf Stream in the next 12-24 hours and slowdown, which should finish off the remaining central convection and the remaining tropical characteristics.

Although Wilma will not be directly affecting the U.S. East Coast, high surf is presently occurring along the mid-Atlantic states.

Wilma Affects New England Today, Although Indirectly

While Wilma races northeastward, a coastal storm is developing off the North Carolina coast today from a low pressure system currently over Ohio and West Virginia. As a result, the northeast U.S. is being socked with rain and winds today. Wilma is not expected to merge with the coastal low but should remain northeast of it.

The change in pressure created between Hurricane Wilma and the low pressure system is bringing strong winds to New England today. According to the National Weather Service, strong to damaging winds have overspread the coast, Cape Cod and islands. Coastal Massachusetts and Block Island, Rhode Island also has a flood watch posted through the evening and a coastal flood warning from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. EDT today. Temperatures are also expected to fall once the low moves away tonight, bringing a chance for a little snow. Sustained winds of 30 to 45 mph with gusts of 60 mph will continue through at least mid-afternoon and should start to diminish slowly this evening. A high wind warning is issued when sustained winds of 40 mph are expected for at least an hour. Damage to trees, power lines and property are possible with wind of this magnitude.

For the latest radar in the southern New England area, please visit on the Internet: http://www.erh.noaa.gov/radar/loop/DS.p19r0/si.kbox.shtml
Story Credit: Rob Gutro/NASA/GSFC




Aqua captured this image of Hurricane Wilma as it departed Florida on October 24, 2005.Image to right: This image was captured by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua spacecraft on October 24, 2005. It shows Hurricane Wilma departing Florida after crashing into the western side of Florida early that morning. Click image to enlarge. Credit: NASA




















GOES sees both Wilma and Alpha in this image taken on October 23, 2005.Image to right: On October 23, 2005, the GOES spacecraft captured this image of both Hurricane Wilma and Tropical Storm Alpha, the record breaker. Click on image to enlarge.
+ Higher resolution print still Credit: NASA/NOAA

















Still from movie showing Hurricane Wilma's movements from October 15 to October 24, 2005.Image to right: This is an animation that shows Wilma's birth on October 15 as a tropical depression in the western Caribbean Sea through Oct. 24, at 8 a.m. EDT when Wilma was battering south Florida with hurricane force winds. Click on image to view movie (no audio -- 12.5 Mb). Credit: NASA/NOAA
















Category 3 Hurricane Wilma Lashes South Florida

GOES still image of Wilma.Image to left: Click on image to view movie (no audio -- 9.3 Mb). This is the lastest from the GOES satellites showing Wilma making her way across Florida on October 24, 2005. Credit: NASA/NOAA

Wilma made landfall about 10 miles south of Marco Island, Fla. this morning at around 6:30 a.m. EDT. At 8:45 a.m. Wilma's eye is in the center of the Florida peninsula, bringing battering winds and heavy rains to the Florida east coast. Wilma is a Category 3 hurricane, with maximum sustained winds near 120 mph and higher gusts. At 7 a.m. EDT, the National Hurricane Center reported Wilma's eye over southwestern Florida at latitude 26.1 north and longitude 81.4 west, or 10 miles north of Everglades City, Fla. Estimated minimum central pressure is 950 millibars.

Wilma's forward speed is 23 mph heading northeast. She is expected to increase in forward speed during the next 24 hours. At 8:30 a.m. Wilma's eye was about 45 miles in diameter. The eye is expected to be off shore by 10:30 a.m. EDT this morning and into the Atlantic Ocean.

Damages Reported in Florida This Morning

At Hallandale Beach, located just south of Hollywood and north of North Miami Beach on Florida's east coast, at 8 a.m. it was reported that a 250 foot construction crane just north of the Diplomat Resort and Hotel fell onto route A1A.

At 8:25 a.m., Wilma was bringing minor flooding to the city of Naples on the west coast of Florida. The Holiday Inn in Hollywood, Fla. reported structural damage at 8:35 a.m. Trees were downed, part of the hotel's roof had come off, and several rooms were reported leaking. At 8:30 a.m., Miami International Airport reported a wind gust of 92 mph. At the National Hurricane Center, a wind gust was reported at 111 mph. CNN reported a lot of damage along the Interstate 95 corridor in south Florida, extending down to Homestead.

According to the Miami Herald newspaper, almost 800,000 customers in south Florida are without power. More than 350,000 homes are without power in Miami-Dade County and more than 150,000 are powerless in Broward County.

This is a large hurricane and the strongest winds in the eyewall extend well away from the center. Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 90 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 230 miles. A wind gust to 95 mph was reported at Everglades City and a gust to 75 mph was reported at Naples. Storm surge flooding of 5 to 9 ft above normal is possible in the Florida Keys and Florida Bay, as well as in Lake Okeechobee. Storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet is possible along the extreme southeastern coast of Florida. At 8:50 a.m. the mayor of Key West reported about 2-3 feet of flood waters in the city.

Wilma is expected to produce 4 to 6 inches of rainfall with maximum amounts of 10 inches across central and southern Florida including the Florida Keys. Tornadoes are possible over portions of the central and southern Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys today. NASA's Kennedy Space Flight Center is closed today as Wilma crosses the Florida peninsula.

For radar in Miami, Fla. please visit the National Weather Service Web site: http://www.srh.noaa.gov/ridge/amx_NCR_lp.shtml



Wilma Marches to Florida Aqua captures Hurricane Wilma on October 23, 2005.

Image to right: Aqua's MODIS instrument captured this image of Hurricane Wilma on October 23, 2005. Click on image to enlarge.





















Wilma's Expected Florida Landfall Monday Morning

By 7 a.m. EDT Monday, October 24, 2005 Hurricane Wilma’s eye is expected to make landfall in southwestern Florida.

Still from GOES movie showing the latest on Hurricane Wilma from October 22, 2005. Image/movie to left: This movie from the GOES satellite shows Hurricane Wilma's movements on October 22, 2005. Click on image to view movie. Credit: NASA/NOAA

At 11 a.m. EDT Sunday, Oct. 23, Wilma is heading toward Florida in a northeastward direction over the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Currently Wilma is a Category 2 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, and is expected to intensify as she nears Florida. The center of Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 22.7 north, longitude 85.8 west or about 285 mile (460 km) west-southwest of Key West, Florida or about 340 miles (545 km) southwest of the southwestern coast of the Florida peninsula. Wilma is moving toward the northeast near 8 mph (13 km/hr). A gradual increase in forward speed and intensity is expected today or tonight. Estimated minimum central pressure is 961 millibars.

Much to the relief of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, hurricane warnings have finally been discontinued after a harrowing 24 hours of hurricane force winds and heavy rains, although tropical storm warnings are still up on the Yucatan’s northeast coast.

Storm Surge and Flooding Threat

Coastal southwest Florida may experience storm surge flooding of 8 to 13 feet above normal tide levels. Those same levels could also be experienced south of the where Wilma’s eye makes landfall. In the Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and Lake Okeechobee, storm surge flooding 5 to 8 feet above normal is possible. Along the extreme coast of southeastern Florida, flooding of 2 to 4 feet is possible.

Rains

Wilma promises to continue her soaking ways as she makes landfall in Florida. Rainfall across southern Florida including the Keys through Tuesday is expected to be 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible.

Isolated Tornadoes

Isolated tornadoes are possible over the central and southern Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys today and tonight.

For up-to-the-minute weather conditions in the Florida Keys, please visit on the Internet: 'http://www.srh.noaa.gov/forecasts/FLZ078.php?zo=1



Florida Really Watching Wilma Now

Although now a Category 2 storm with maximum sustained winds near 100 mph, Wilma could strengthen into a major hurricane again on Sunday as she heads toward south Florida. Florida is now under Hurricane Warnings for Wilma, from the Florida Keys, including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay, and the Florida west coast from Longboat Key southward. Hurricane Warnings are also posted on the Florida east coast from Jupiter Inlet southward, including Lake Okeechobee, as Wilma is expected to pass through Florida from the southwest to the north central part of the state. A hurricane warning means that hurricane conditions are expected within the warning area within the next 24 hours.

At 11 p.m. EDT, Wilma’s eye was located near 21.8 north and longitude 86.9 west, about 375 miles west-southwest of Key West Florida. Wilma’s crawling toward the north near 3 mph, but she’s expected to pick up speed on Sunday and move northeast. Estimated minimum central pressure is 959 millibars.

What Can Florida Expect?

Coastal southwest Florida may experience storm surge flooding of 8 to 13 feet above normal tide levels. Those same levels could also be experienced south of the where Wilma’s eye makes landfall. In the Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and Lake Okeechobee, storm surge flooding 5 to 8 feet above normal is possible.

Wilma promises to continue her soaking ways as she makes landfall in Florida. Rainfall across southern Florida including the Keys through Tuesday is expected to be 4 to 8 inches, with isolated maximum amounts of 12 inches possible. Isolated tornadoes embedded in rainbands associated with Hurricane Wilma are possible during the next couple of days with the most likely time of occurrence from Sunday night through Monday afternoon.

For up-to-the-minute weather conditions in the Florida Keys, please visit on the Internet: 'http://www.srh.noaa.gov/forecasts/FLZ078.php?zo=1



Wilma’s Hurricane Winds Now 24 Hours Over The Yucatan Peninsula -- 2 p.m. EDT Saturday, October 22, 2005

Hurricane Wilma, now a Category 2 hurricane, packing sustained winds of 110 mph has brought hurricane winds to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico for more than 24 hours and continues to linger there and move painfully slowly. 24 hours is a long time for those still in the area to listen to the howling of winds outside, and for items to tear loose.

TRMM image of Wilma from October 21, 2005. Image to right: Click on image to enlarge. The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite observed Wilma approaching the Yucatan Peninsula at 8:55 pm EDT October 20, 2005. This 3-D perspective of Wilma shows a cut away view of the eye with cloud height on the top right side of the storm and rain rates in the lower left side of the storm. TRMM reveals that Wilma has a well-defined, closed inner eye of intense rain surrounded by larger concentric rings of more moderate rain. The sharply-curved features in the rain field surrounding the inner eye are the mark of well-developed, intense circulation. At the time of the image, Wilma was a Category 4 storm with maximum sustained winds reported at 150 miles per hour by the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

NASA and NOAA satellites continue to provide the latest data to forecasters. By 2 pm. EDT on Saturday, October 22, Hurricane Wilma’s eye was still sitting over land on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, between Cancun and Cozumel. Wilma’s eye is located near latitude 21.2 north and longitude 87.0 west. That’s about 40 miles southwest of Key West, Florida. Estimated minimum central pressure is 953 millibars.

Where is Wilma Headed Next?

Wilma’s movements northward amount to “drifting” slowly northward. While Wilma remains over land, forecasters say that some additional weakening is possible. Although Wilma lost strength when she made landfall, her eye is expected to finally depart the Yucatan peninsula into the Gulf of Mexico tonight or early Sunday. Once Wilma gets into the warm waters of the Gulf, some re-strengthening is possible.

What Next for Florida?

A hurricane watch is now in effect for all of the Florida Keys, including the Dry Tortugas and Florida Bay. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours. Computer models now project that Wilma will make landfall in south Florida early Monday, October 24. Story credit: Rob Gutro/NASA GSFC - Text derived from National Hurricane Center.


Earlier Images and Information



Wilma Still Lashing the Yucatan Peninsula - 8 a.m. EDT Saturday, October 22, 2005

By 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, October 22, Hurricane Wilma’s eye was sitting over land on the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, between Cancun and Cozumel. She continued to bring heavy rains and hurricane force winds to the region. Overnight, Wilma was downgraded to a Category 3 hurricane, still very dangerous. Maximum sustained winds are near 120 mph (195 km/hr). Estimated minimum central pressure is 943 millibars.

At 8 a.m. EDT, the center of Hurricane Wilma was located inland over northeastern Yucatan near latitude 21.0 north, longitude 87.0 west about 10 miles (15 km) west-southwest of Cancun and about 415 miles southwest of Key West, Florida. Wilma is drifting northward very slowly and will continue to pound the Yucatan today. Because Wilma’s movement has slowed, the eye is now forecast to make landfall in south Florida sometime Monday, October 24. A hurricane watch will likely be required for portions of the central and southern Florida peninsula and the Florida Keys later today. Story credit: Rob Gutro/NASA GSFC - Text derived from National Hurricane Center.

Wilma Slowing Over the Yucatan Peninsula -- update from 8 p.m. EDT October 21, 2005

At 8 p.m. EDT on Friday, October 21, Hurricane Wilma is a powerful category 4 hurricane moving slowly and erratically, lashing the Yucatan Peninsula. Hurricane Wilma is moving very slowly over the northern end of the Island of Cozumel, Mexico. The center was located near latitude 20.6 north and longitude 86.9 west. Wilma’s forward motion has slowed to 4 mph in a northwest direction, and this general motion is expected to continue over the next 24 hours.

Wilma’s eye is expected to move inland over the extreme northeastern part of the Yucatan peninsula tonight, October 21, and remain inland on Saturday. Maximum sustained winds are around 140 miles per hour (220 km/hr). Some weakening is expected later tonight and Saturday after the center moves inland. An automated weather station in Cancun, Mexico reported a wind gust of 133 mph (215 km/hr) before contact with the station was lost. The latest minimum central pressure reported by an air force hurricane hunter aircraft was 930 millibars.

Coastal storm surge flooding of 7 to 11 feet above normal tides are expected near where Wilma makes landfall. 10 to 20 inches of rain are expected in parts of western Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula this weekend, with isolated amounts of 40 inches possible. Meanwhile, Wilma’s outer rainbands continue to bring southern Florida rainfall, with 2 to 4 inches possible through Sunday. Because Wilma’s movement has slowed, the eye is now forecast to make landfall in south Florida sometime late Monday, Oct. 24. Story credit: Rob Gutro/NASA GSFC - Text derived from National Hurricane Center.



Wilma's Winds Whip Mexico's Yucatan

QuikScat data showing Hurricane Wilma, Oct. 21, 2005Image right: The eye of Hurricane Wilma, a menacing Category 4 storm, approaches the northeastern tip of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula in this October 21 image from NASA's QuikScat satellite, depicting relative wind speeds and direction. The storm is projected to make landfall in south Florida on Monday.

Image credit: NASA/JPL

+ Browse image

+ Full resolution GIF (753Kb)



Aqua captured this image of Hurricane Wilma on October 20, 2005.Image to left: Click on image to enlarge. Hurricane Wilma was a powerful Category 4 storm when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Aqua satellite took this image at 2:50 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, on October 20, 2005. The previous day, Wilma had surged from tropical storm to category 5 hurricane in record time. Winds around the eyewall of the storm were raging at 280 kilometers per hour (175 miles per hour). National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aircraft had also measured a record-low air pressure of 882 millibars in the center of Hurricane Wilma, making it the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin. Her place in the record books firmly established, Wilma backed off this peak strength somewhat. By the time of this image, she had sustained winds of 230 kilometers per hour (145 miles per hour). Wilma was projected to continue into the Gulf of Mexico bringing powerful winds and heavy rain to both western Cuba and the Yucatan Peninsula before turning to cross through southern Florida. Credit: NASA image courtesy Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center




Hurricane Wilma Targeting the Yucatan Peninsula Today

Hurricane Wilma's northwestern eyewall was sitting over Cozumel, Mexico at 11 a.m. EDT today, Friday, October 21. Forecasters note that the eye of Wilma could make landfall over the northeastern Yucatan peninsula of Mexico later today or tonight before she moves into the Gulf of Mexico.

This is a radar image from the Mexican weather service radar at 10:16 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 21 clearly showing the eye of Wilma south of Cozumel, Mexico.Image to right: This is a radar image from the Mexican weather service radar at 10:16 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 21. It clearly shows the eye of Wilma south of Cozumel, Mexico. Credit: Mexican Weather Service (Servico Meteorologico Nacional)

At 11 a.m. EDT the center of Hurricane Wilma was located about 35 miles southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. She is moving toward the northwest at 5 mph and has slowed over the last 24 hours. Because Wilma has a large circulation, hurricane conditions are already likely being experienced in portions of the Yucatan's northeastern coast. Radar in Cancun, Mexico, shows that strong rainbands are occurring over Cozumel and Cancun at this time.

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Hurricane Wilma's maximum sustained winds are around 145 mph with higher gusts, making her a Category 4 storm. Forecasters note that some fluctuations in intensity are possible before she makes landfall on the Yucatan peninsula later today or tonight. Estimated minimum central pressure is 930 millibars.

Hurricane force winds (74 mph and greater) extend outward up to 85 miles from the center, about the same distance they did on October 20. Tropical storm force winds (35-73 mph) extend outward up to 200 miles. A NOAA buoy in the region recently reported sustained winds of 62 mph (100 km/hr) and 31 foot seas.

What the Yucatan Peninsula Can Expect From Wilma

Wilma's wrath is already being felt on the Yucatan peninsula today. Coastal storm surge flooding of 7 to 11 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves are expected near and to the north of the center along the northeastern Yucatan peninsula.

Rainfall amounts will be tremendous. Wilma is expected to produce 10 to 20 inches of rain through Sunday across portions of western Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula. Isolated amounts of rain could total up to 40 inches.

Florida Feeling Wilma's Fringe Effects Already

According to the National Hurricane Center, Wilma's outer rainbands will continue to affect portions of southern Florida, especially the Florida Keys. Through Sunday, those areas could see 2 to 4 inches of rain. To see the local, up-to-the-minute Key West, Fla., radar, go to: http://radar.weather.gov/radar/loop/DS.p19r0/si.kbyx.shtml.

What's Happening for Florida Keys Residents

At 11:20 a.m. EDT on Friday, October 21, a voluntary evacuation has been called for all residents of the Florida Keys. At this time, hurricane or tropical storm watches are not yet in effect. Watches will be issued when tropical storm or hurricane force winds are expected within 36 hours.

Residents should continue preparations to protect homes and businesses. Emergency management continues to encourage residents voluntarily to evacuate. The shelter at Florida International University is open. The bridges at Snake Creek and Jewfish Creek will open for vessels every half hour. Tolls on Card Sound Road have been suspended. Government offices schools and parks are closed today.

Transportation for Those Evacuating the Keys

Key West International Airport, Greyhound Bus service, and JGT Bus service are fully operational.

Residents who do not have transportation can check with the Monroe County emergency hotline or the city of Key West hotline to get information on bus service. The Monroe County emergency information hotline is 1-800-955-5504. The city of Key West hotline is 305-809-1108.

Current forecast models project Wilma making landfall in southwest Florida sometime Monday, Oct. 24. Residents of south Florida should monitor their local television and radio stations for up-to-date information. Story credit: Rob Gutro/NASA GSFC - Text derived from National Hurricane Center.



TRMM captured these hot towers inside Hurricane Wilma on October 19, 2005. Image/animation to left: Click on image to view animation (no audio -- 10.4 Mb) On October 16, 2005 at 11:02 p.m. EDT, Wilma was classified as a Tropical Storm with sustained wind speeds of only 34 mph)and pressure reading of 1001 mb. Forty-eight hours later the storm had increased its intensity to category five status with sustained winds of 172 mph. The tall towers (in red) near the center of the circulation often indicate further strengthening. Because of the size (1-20 km) and short duration (30 minute to 2 hours) of these hot towers, studies of these events have been limited to descriptive studies from aircraft observations, although a few have attempted to use the presence of hot towers in a predictive capacity. Before TRMM, no data set existed that could show globally and definitively the presence of these hot towers in cyclone systems. With a ground resolution of 5 km, the TRMM Precipitation Radar provided the needed data set for examining the predictive value of hot towers in cyclone intensification. TRMM captured 2 very deep Hot Towers in the eyewall of Tropical Storm Wilma. These towers measured 15-16 km high. Credit: NASA/JAXA




TRMM captured this image of Hurricane Wilma on October 20, 2005.Image/animation to right: Click on image to view animation (no audio -- 10.9 Mb). NASA's Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite took this 3-D cat scan of Hurricane Wilma early on Oct. 20, when the storm was still a Category 5 hurricane. TRMM looks underneath of the storm's clouds to reveal the underlying rain structure. Blue represents areas with at least 0.25 inches of rain per hour. Green shows at least 0.5 inches of rain per hour. Yellow is at least 1.0 inches of rain and red is at least 2.0 inches of rain per hour. + High resolution print still (6.1 Mb) Credit: NASA/JAXA





Image of Hurricane Wilma taken by MODIS on October 20, 2005. Image/animation to left: Click on image to view animation (no audio -- 9.3 Mb). This image from the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) instrument on NASA's Terra satellite shows Wilma's position on October 19. + Print still Credit: NASA














Image showing the sea surface temperatures surrounding Hurricane Wilma on October 21, 2005. Image/animation to right: Click on image to view animation (no audio - 1.2 Mb). Ocean temperatures surrounding Wilma are hovering near 85 degrees F, about three degrees higher than the temperature required to fuel a hurricane. This image shows the sea surface temperatures (SSTs) from Oct. 15 - 20. Every area in yellow, orange or red represents temperatures of 82 degrees F or above. The data came from the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) instrument on NASA's Aqua satellite. +High resolution print still (8.9 Mb) Credit: NASA











Hurricane Wilma's Winds Extend Further Today

GOES satellite image of Hurricane Wilma taken on October 19, 2005.Image to right: GOES image of Hurricane Wilma taken on October 18, 2005. Click on image to enlarge.

The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. EDT on Thursday, Oct. 20, indicate that Hurricane Wilma's maximum sustained winds are 145 mph. Wilma is currently a Category 4 hurricane and some strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours. The center of Hurricane Wilma was located about 170 miles south-southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. In 21 hours, Wilma moved 130 miles closer to Cozumel.

Hurricane force winds now cover an area 40 miles greater than yesterday. As of 11 a.m. EDT today, hurricane force winds (74 mph or greater) now extend outward up to 90 miles (150 km).

The reach of tropical storm force winds has also grown as Wilma continues to move to the west-northwest near 7 mph (11 km/hr). As of 11 a.m. EDT today, they extend 100 miles further from the center, up to 260 miles (415 km). Since Wed. morning at 8 a.m. EDT, estimated minimum central pressure has risen from the record 882 millibars to 915 millibars today.

Wilma's Rains Already Causing Damage

News services have reported that at least 11 people have drowned in southern Haiti due to Wima's heavy rainfall. The rains caused flash flooding and some mudslides, according to reports. Most of the fatalities occurred in the Leogane area of Haiti. Reports from Honduras indicated heavy rains and flooding in the provinces of Gracias a Dios and Colón. Nicaragua experienced mudslides in the Isabelia mountain range. One death was reported in Jamaica from heavy rains and a swollen river. In the Cayman Islands, large waves and heavy showers still provided the threat of more flooding.

At 11 a.m. the Mexican government extended the hurricane warning from San Felipe to Chetumal on the Yucatan peninsula. The warning includes Cozumel and the nearby islands. A hurricane warning is also in effect for Swan Island. Coastal storm surge flooding of 7-10 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves, can be expected near and to the north of where the center makes landfall on the Yucatan peninsula.

Wilma is expected to produce 10 to 20 inches of rain through Saturday across portions of western Cuba and the Yucatan peninsula. Isolated rainfall amounts of 40 inches are possible, particularly over higher terrain in western Cuba. Additional rainfall accumulations of 2 to 4 inches, with isolated amounts of 8 inches are possible across the Cayman Islands, Swan Island and portions of Honduras through Friday.

South Florida on Stand By

All interests in the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula should closely monitor the progress of extremely dangerous Hurricane Wilma. Current forecast models project Wilma making landfall in southwest Florida on Sunday, October 23, or Monday, October 24. Officials in southwest Florida are concerned with the thousands of people who still live in mobile homes and trailers that were supplied in the hurricane relief efforts from 2004's onslaught of storms. The Federal Emergency Management Agency is planning to deliver the supplies to Homestead Air Reserve Base and Lakeland in case they are needed. For up-to-the-minute hurricane forecasts, please visit: National Hurricane Center. Caption credit: Rob Gutro, NASA GSFC



Still from animation showing Wilma's hot towers. Image to right: The arrival of Hurricane Wilma on October 15, 2005, tied the record for most named storms in a single Atlantic hurricane season. Within just days Wilma went from tropical storm to Category 5 hurricane status and broke the record for lowest pressure ever recorded inside a hurricane. New satellite observations show towering thunderclouds, sometimes called hot towers, that signaled the onset of intensification in this remarkable storm. Click on image to view animation (5 Mb). + Print still (913 Kb) Credit: NASA




Image of Hurricane Wilma taken by the MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite on October 19, 2005.
Image to right: The MODIS instrument on the Aqua satellite captured this image of Hurricane Wilma on October 19, 2005. Click image to enlarge. Credit: NASA
















Quikscat image of Hurricane Wilma taken on October 18, 2005. Image to left: Hurricane Wilma is shown here as observed by NASA’s QuikSCAT satellite on October 18, 2005, at 7:31 p.m. EDT. At this time, the hurricane had 80 miles per hour sustained winds. However, within twelve hours of this observation, Wilma increased power quite dramatically, running the full gamut of the hurricane strength scale to Category 5 with sustained winds of 175 mph! At that point, Wilma became the most powerful storm in terms of both wind speeds and air pressure ever measured in an Atlantic hurricane. The image depicts wind speed in color and wind direction with small barbs. White barbs point to areas of heavy rain. The highest wind speeds, shown in purple, surround the center of the storm. Click on image to enlarge. Credit: NASA/JPL


Terra image of Wilma taken on October 18, 2005. The latest advisory from the National Hurricane Center indicated that Hurricane Wilma's maximum sustained winds decreased to 165 mph (270 km/hr). Click on image to enlarge. Forecasters always note that hurricanes of this magnitude will always have fluctuations in strength and more fluctuations are likely in the next 24 hours with Wilma. The National Hurricane Center warns that Wilma is a potentially "catastrophic" category five hurricane.

At 2 p.m. EDT on Wed. Oct. 19 the center of Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 17.5 north, longitude 83.5 west or about 300 miles (480 km) southeast of Cozumel, Mexico.

Hurricane force winds now extend outward up to 50 miles (85 km) from the center, up from 15 miles this morning at 5 a.m. EDT, so the area that is experiencing hurricane force winds around Wilma's eye has grown by 35 miles. Tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).

Estimated minimum central pressure has risen from the record 882 millibars to 900 millibars (26.58 inches) since the 5 a.m. report.

All interests in the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula should closely monitor the progress of extremely dangerous Hurricane Wilma. Current forecast models project Wilma making landfall in southwest Florida on Saturday, Oct. 22. Story credit: Rob Gutro, NASA

Text derived from: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov


Hurricane Wilma Explodes Into a Record Hurricane

In the early morning hours of Wednesday, October 19 in the warm Caribbean waters, Hurricane Wilma strengthened from a Category 2 hurricane to the most intense Hurricane 5 hurricane on record.

Hurricanes are measured by factors such as atmospheric pressure, winds and storm surge. Wilma's atmospheric pressure at 8 a.m. EDT measured 882 millibars. The previous record was 888 millibars set in 1988 by Hurricane Gilbert that moved through the Gulf of Mexico.

At 8 a.m. Wednesday, October 19, Wilma was packing maximum sustained winds of 175 mph (280 km/hr) with higher gusts. Wilma's center was located near latitude 17.2 north and longitude 82.8 west or about 340 miles (550 km) southeast of Cozumel, Mexico. Wilma is moving toward the west-northwest near 8 mph (13 km/hr). A turn toward the northwest is expected during the next 24 hours.

According to the National Hurricane Center, Wilma is a potentially catastrophic Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale. Fluctuations in intensity are common in hurricanes this intense and are likely during the next 24 hours.

Wilma is a smaller storm than Katrina. Wilma's hurricane force winds extend outward to 15 miles (30 km) from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 160 miles (260 km).

Based on data from dropsondes, instruments that are dropped into the storm from Hurricane Hunter planes that fly over it, and flight-level data from an Air Force plane, Wilma's minimum central pressure is estimated to be 882 millibars (26.05 inches). This is the lowest pressure on record for a hurricane in the Atlantic basin.

Rainfall by Wilma is expected to be high. Wilma is expected to produce storm total accumulations of 10 to 15 inches with local amounts near 25 inches in mountainous terrain across Cuba through Friday. Additional rainfall accumulations of 5 to 10 inches, with local amounts of 15 inches, are possible across the Cayman Islands, Swan Island and Jamaica through Thursday.

From Honduras northward to the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico through Thursday, storm total accumulations of 4 to 6 inches, with isolated amounts of 8 to 12 inches are possible.

Watches and warnings have been posted throughout the region. A hurricane watch is in effect for the east coast of the Yucatan Peninsula from Cabo Catoche to Punta Gruesa. A hurricane watch is also in effect for Cuba in the provinces of Matanzas westward through Pinar del Rio and for the Isle of Youth. A hurricane watch means that hurricane conditions are possible within the watch area, generally within 36 hours.

Tropical storm warnings are up 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.

Current forecast models project Wilma making landfall in southwest Florida on Saturday, Oct. 22 or Sunday, Oct. 23. All residents in the Florida Keys and the Florida peninsula should closely monitor the progress of extremely dangerous Hurricane Wilma. Story credit: Rob Gutro, NASA

Text derived from: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov



Wilma Becomes a Hurricane

GOES image of Hurricane Wilma + View movie (5.4 Mb) On Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005 Tropical Storm Wilma grew into a category one hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea and is expected to strengthen. Wilma can be seen in the bottom center of the animation as she intensifies as she moves west-northwest.

The image to the right is a still from an animation of the formation and strengthening of Hurricane Wilma up to Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2005. It was created from data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's GOES-12 satellite. The image was processed at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Laboratory for Atmospheres in Greenbelt, Md.

At 2 p.m. EDT on October 18, the center of Hurricane Wilma was located near latitude 16.7 north and longitude 81.1 west or about 180 miles (290 kilometers) south of Grand Cayman. Wilma was moving west-northwest near 8 mph (12 km/hr). Wilma's maximum sustained winds are near 80 mph (130 km/hr) and the minimum central pressure is 975 millibars or 28.79 inches.

She is currently a category one hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson scale, but additional strengthening is forecast as she moves into the warm waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Forecasters expect Wilma to become a major hurricane in the next day or two.

As of 2 p.m. on Oct. 18, 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. Hurricane Wilma is expected to produce rainfall accumulations of 4 to 6 inches over the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, Haiti and southeastern Cuba. There is a possibility for isolated amounts of 8 to 12 inches of rainfall. Rainfall accumulations of 2 to 3 inches with isolated amounts of 6 to 10 inches are possible over Honduras and Nicaragua. Credit: NOAA/NASA Caption credit: Rob Gutro, NASA



Tropical Storm Wilma as seen by the MODIS instrument on the Terra satellite on October 17, 2005. Tropical Depression Wilma does appear impressive or well organized in this image (click on image to expand), acquired by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite at 12:05 p.m. local time, on October 16, 2005. At the time of this MODIS observation, Wilma was still an unnamed tropical depression without the coherent spiral structure and cloud bands of a hurricane. However, the first stirrings of cyclonic development are visible in this image, even though winds were only around 55 kilometers per hour (35 miles per hour).

Within 24 hours of this MODIS image being acquired, the tropical depression gathered enough wind speed and organization to be classified as a tropical storm and take the name Wilma. Wilma was the 21st storm of the 2005 Atlantic Hurricane season to be named. This made 2005 the most active hurricane season on record, tied with 1933, which also had 21 named storms. Wilma’s projected course when it became a tropical storm was to continue northeast into the Gulf of Mexico where warm waters were predicted to fuel its continuing growth into a full-fledged hurricane. Credit: NASA image created by Jesse Allen, Earth Observatory, using data courtesy of the MODIS Rapid Response team.


Quikscat image of Tropical Storm Wilma taken on October 15, 2005. At 9:48 a.m. UTC (5:48 a.m. EDT) on Monday, October 15, Tropical Storm Wilma's 45 mph winds were observed by NASA's QuikSCAT satellite (click on image to expand). According to the latest report from the National Hurricane Center at 11 a.m. EDT, Wilma is strengthening, and may be a hurricane by Tuesday, Oct. 18.

This image depicts wind speed in color and wind direction with small barbs. White barbs point to areas of heavy rain. The highest wind speeds, shown in red, south of the center of the storm. The scatterometer sends pulses of microwave energy through the atmosphere to the ocean surface, and measures the energy that bounces back from the wind-roughened surface. The energy of the microwave pulses changes depending on wind speed and direction, giving scientists a way to monitor wind around the world.

At 11 a.m. EDT on Monday, Oct. 17, a tropical storm warning was issued for Honduras from the Honduras/Nicaragua border westward to Cabo Camaron. A tropical storm warning and a hurricane warning remain in effect for the Cayman Islands. The center of Wilma was located about 230 miles (370 kilometers) east-northeast of Cabo Gracias a Dios on the Nicaragua/Honduras border. She has maximum sustained winds of 45 mph, and is moving to the southwest near 5 mph, with a gradual turn to the west expected in the next 24 hours. Image Credit: NASA JPL


TRMM image of Tropical Storm Wilma taken on October 17, 2005. + High resolution print still

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) satellite took these images (click on images to expand) of Tropical Storm Wilma, the 21st named storm of the Atlantic season, which ties the record for the number of named storms set back in 1933. The images were taken at 03:02 UTC on 17 October 2005 (11:02 pm EDT 16 October 2005) just before tropical depression #24 reached tropical storm intensity and became Wilma. The first image (above) shows a top-down view of the rain intensity within tropical depression #24 as seen by TRMM. Rain rates in the center of the swath are from the TRMM Precipitation Radar, which can measure precipitation from space. Rain rates in the outer swath are from the TRMM Microwave Imager. The rain rates are overlaid on infrared (IR) data from the TRMM Visible Infrared Scanner. Most of the rain is on the south side of the storm with some weak banded features west of the center, indicating that the circulation is still in the formative stages. At the time of the image, tropical depression #24 had sustained winds estimated at 35 mph by the National Hurricane Center.

3D perspective of Wilma from the TRMM The image left (click on image to expand) gives a 3D perspective of the system from the TRMM PR. The isosurface shows the height of the precipitation within the storm as defined by the 10 dBZ isosurface (equivalent to very weak precipitation). The tall towers (in red) near the center of the circulation often indicate further strengthening. Credit: NASA, Caption credit: Steve Lang, NASA GSFC






TRMM image of Hurricane Wilma taken on October 17, 2005. Image to right: Click on image to enlarge. Hurricane Wilma is the 21st named storm of the 2005 Atlantic hurricane season, and the third Category 5 storm to develop in the western Caribbean this year. Wilma underwent extremely rapid intensification commencing late on October 18, 2005 deepening 95 millibars in 24 hours (at a rate of 8 millibars/hr for several hours).

The Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) captured these images. The image on the right side shows the rainfall from the towering clouds called "Hot Towers." Hot Towers, located in the eyewall are areas of strong thunderstorms that surround the open eye. they were found to be as high as 15-16 kilometers (9.3-9.9 miles) during Wilma's early strengthening phase. Credit: TRMM/Jeff Halverson