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Monday, October 24, 2005

The Monday Of Wilma

Florida is in trouble. Wilma is a strong category 3 and will be hitting the coast in just a few hours. At 5 AM Wilma was reported to be centered 55 miles southwest of Naples, Florida. Hurricane force winds extend outwards up to 90 miles and tropical force winds about 230 miles, so hurricane conditions are already dominating the southwest coast of Florida. With a storm this big exactly where the eye crosses the land is less significant than you would think.

It is dead quiet here in south central Georgia, and it shouldn't be. The storm is chittering its way along a pressure wall to the south of us which must be directing its track. The 5 AM bulletin:
WILMA IS MOVING TOWARD THE NORTHEAST NEAR 20 MPH AND AN INCREASE IN FORWARD SPEED IS EXPECTED DURING THE NEXT 24 HOURS. ON THIS TRACK THE CENTER WILL MAKE LANDFALL ALONG THE SOUTHWESTERN FLORIDA COAST IN A FEW HOURS AND CROSS THE SOUTHERN FLORIDA PENINSULA LATER TODAY. HOWEVER THIS IS A LARGE HURRICANE AND STRONG WINDS WILL BE EXPERIENCED WELL BEFORE THE ARRIVAL OF THE CENTER.
...
STORM SURGE FLOODING OF 12 TO 18 FT ABOVE NORMAL TIDE LEVELS IS
POSSIBLE ALONG THE SOUTHWEST FLORIDA COAST NEAR AND TO THE
SOUTH OF WHERE THE CENTER OF WILMA MAKES LANDFALL. 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.
Power is already out in many places along the southwestern coast of Florida. See USATODAY for some pretty good coverage. This is going to devastate a huge strip of Florida cutting right across the state. Wilma will probably still be a category 2 as the storm exits, stage left, somewhere around Palm Beach county or Martin county. As for how big the storm is, the eye will take several hours to pass over any given location!


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