Wilma's top sustained winds reached 175 mph early Wednesday in the most rapid strengthening ever recorded in a hurricane, said meteorologist Hugh Cobb of the National Hurricane Center in Miami. At the same time Tuesday, Wilma was only a tropical storm with winds of 70 mph.Well, that last sentence is reassuring, at least. Still, Katrina and Rita were Gulf of Mexico hurricanes.
Its confirmed pressure readings Wednesday morning dropped to 882 millibars _ the lowest ever measured in a hurricane in the Atlantic basin, according to the hurricane center. The strongest on record based on the lowest pressure reading is Hurricane Gilbert in 1988, which dipped to 888 millibars....
Forecasters said Wilma was more powerful than the devastating September 1935 hurricane that hit the Florida Keys, the strongest Atlantic hurricane to make landfall on record. But Wilma wasn't expected to keep its record strength for long, as higher disruptive atmospheric winds in the Gulf of Mexico around the hurricane should weaken it before landfall, Cobb said.
October 19, 2005
How can it be that there is another Category 5 hurricane? And here we are down to the "W" name. It's just a coincidence, isn't it, that Katrina, Rita, and Wilma have come in the same year?