Hurricane Wilma has become the most powerful AtlanticHurricane ever recorded, and it appears poised to strikeFlorida. The storm is likely to come ashore with 165 MPHwinds on Florida’ south coast, and roll up the state’seastern shore, declining from a Category 5 hurricane to atropical storm as it does so. The storm will initiallystrike with winds somewhere in excess of 140 MPH, andpossibly much higher. Destructive winds are liable tocontinue for at least 24 hours as this extraordinary forceof nature comes ashore. It will then deposit upwards of tento fifteen inches of rain throughout its period over land.
The storm’s track remains very unstable, and it could stillenter the Gulf of Mexico or even go out to sea, latermenacing the US Atlantic coast farther north. It is not anormal storm and it is not moving like a normal storm. Itisn’t unusual for extreme hurricanes to fluctuate rapidly inintensity after they exceed Category 4, but the wobblingtrack of this storm marks it as unusual, reflecting lateOctober weather conditions that are quite out of theordinary, with the Jet Stream still looping far to the northover the eastern US, meaning that no strong fontal systemsare there to blow Wilma out to sea.
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