However, when Wilma shot from a tropical storm to a Category 5 hurricane on the morning of October 19, it broke the all-time record for the lowest pressure ever measured in the Atlantic Basin. NASA - National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Follow this link to skip to the main content,,, ', [1] Originally, the hurricane was forecasted to re-intensify into a Category 5 hurricane,[20] with one forecast predicting it to make landfall on the Yucatán Peninsula with winds of 165 mph (265 km/h),[21] though Wilma remained a strong Category 4 hurricane as it tracked northwestward. [1] At the time, the pressure measured 892 mbar (26.34 inHg), the lowest known pressure for a Category 4 hurricane,[19] and Wilma retained the large eyewall as it turned northwestward. [1] The eye continued to contract to a diameter of about 3 miles (5 km), the smallest known eye in an Atlantic hurricane, and at 1200 UTC on October 19, Wilma reached peak winds of 185 mph (300 km/h). [1] In the span of just 24 hours, Wilma had intensified from a 70-mph (110-km/h) tropical storm to a 175-mph (280-km/h) Category 5 hurricane, an event that has never happened before for an Atlantic hurricane. However, the National Hurricane Center noted in the first advisory on the depression that there were "all indications that there could a dangerous hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea in 3 to 5 days." [16] At the time of its peak intensity, hurricane force winds extended only 50 miles (85 km) from the small center of Wilma, with tropical storm force winds extending only about 160 miles (260 km). A vigorous cold front associated with the mid-level trough moved across the area to the west of Wilma, yet the cooler and drier air behind the front could not fully penetrate the inner core of the hurricane to weaken it. [31] By 1170 UTC on October 25, the center was to the northwest of the primary convection as cold air from the southwest disturbed the circulation. Originally, the tropical depression was forecast to drift west-southwestward before turning to the north; within 120 hours of the forecast's issuance, the system was predicted to be about 80 miles (130 km) south of the Isle of Youth as a 105 mph (170 km/h) hurricane. [1] Operationally, the peak intensity was estimated at 175 mph (280 km/h). At first, the depression moved erratically and slowly in the waters between Jamaica and Central America. From October 18, and over the next day, Wilma underwent explosive deepening over the open waters of the Caribbean; in a 30-hour period, the system's central atmospheric pressure dropped from 982 mbar (29.00 inHg) to the record-low value of 882 mbar (26.05 inHg), while the winds increased to 185 mph (300 km/h). The … It weakened a little bit as it continued northwestward, and struck the Mexican mainland near Puerto Morelos at 0330 UTC on October 22, with winds of 135 mph (215 km/h)[1] and gusts of up to 170 mph (270 km/h). [11] The storm continued to the southwest while deep convection laid near the center. [25] After reaching open waters, Reconnaissance Aircraft reported the remains of an inner eyewall and an outer eyewall measuring between 70 and 90 miles (110 to 145 km) in diameter. The effects of Hurricane Wilma in The Bahamas were generally unexpected and primarily concentrated on the western portion of Grand Bahama. As the dropsonde did not reach the calm winds in the center, the pressure was estimated at 882 mbar (26.05 inHg), the lowest pressure in an Atlantic hurricane on record. During the second week of October, an unusually large, monsoon-like lower-level circulation and a large area of disturbed weather developed over much of the Caribbean Sea. Hurricane Wilma formed to the southwest of Jamaica on October 14. The depression slowly moved southwestward, and in conditions that were good for strengthening, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Wilma on October 17. A big weather system formed across much of the Caribbean Sea and slowly organized to the southeast of Jamaica. [13], Tropical Storm Wilma began to turn to the west-northwest on October 18,[1] during which the storm developed a small, intermittent and ragged eye feature as well as a mid-level eye feature. [1], The depression tracked slowly westward, a motion due to weak steering currents caused by a high pressure system to its north across the Gulf of Mexico. [29] Early on October 25, the hurricane reached a secondary peak intensity of 125 mph while about 340 miles (545 km) east of Jacksonville, Florida. [1], Hurricane Wilma crossed the Florida peninsula in about 4.5 hours while continuing to speed northeastward, and entered into the Atlantic Ocean as a weakened 110 mph (175 km/h) hurricane near Jupiter. Of the intensity models, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory predicted an intensity of 135 mph (215 km/h) within 36 hours, with other forecasts being more conservative in their predictions. Shortly after exiting the Florida coastline, Wilma began to re-intensify,[1] believed to be due to a reduction of friction of the eyewall and warm waters of the Gulf Stream. [5] By late on October 15, the surface circulation became defined well-enough, with enough organized deep convection, for the National Hurricane Center to designate the system as Tropical Depression Twenty-Four while it was about 220 miles (345 km) east-southeast of Grand Cayman. xmlns:xsl=''">. [4] Dvorak classifications were initiated on October 15. Early on October 19, Wilma attained major hurricane status while continuing to rapidly intensify, and by 0600 UTC, the storm's maximum sustained winds increased to 170 mph (275 km/h), making Wilma a dangerous Category 5 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale. Wilma weakened as it quickly crossed the state, and entered the Atlantic Ocean near Jupiter, Florida. The system moved westward,[2] and early on October 14 the convection became more concentrated and a little better organized as upper-level wind shear lessened slightly. On October 26, it turned into an extratropical cyclone, and the next day, the remnants of Wilma were absorbed by another extratropical storm over Atlantic Canada. [28] Despite wind shear values of about 30 mph (48 km/h), Wilma strengthened further to reach winds of 125 mph (200 km/h). [1] Convection increased and became slightly better organized, though upper-level wind shear originally stopped development. By late on October 15, the system was became strong for the National Hurricane Center to name it Tropical Depression Twenty-Four. [14] It continued to strength, and at 1200 UTC on October 18, Wilma strengthened into a Category 1 hurricane while about 225 miles (360 km) south-southeast of Grand Cayman. A big weather system formed across much of the Caribbean Sea and slowly organized to the southeast of Jamaica. Hurricane Wilma was the most intense hurricane to ever hit the Atlantic Basin. [24] About 26 hours after making landfall on Cozumel, Wilma emerged into the southern Gulf of Mexico near Cabo Catoche with winds of about 100 mph (160 km/h).

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