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Wilma enters the Gulf

Wilma remains over the Loop Current of the Gulf of Mexico. As of the 5PM EDT advisory, Wilma's intensity had been slightly increased, with winds of 105 mph and a pressure of 959 mb. Wilma is picking up speed and moving northeast at 14 mph. Wilma could regain category 3 intensity over the Gulf. This may be slow to occur as the Yucatan seems to have destroyed her inner core. Wilma will need to rebuild an eye before strengthening. Microwave imagery suggests that the inner eyewall is nearly non-existent. The larger outer eyewall will not be able to support a major hurricane yet.

Hurricane Warnings and other advisories are in effect for much of the Florida coast. Mandatory evacuations have been issued for southwestern parts of the Florida coast.

While the models still show no clear consensus, southern Florida should be on guard.

As Wilma ventures into the Gulf, at first, she will be over warm water capable of supporting a Category 5 hurricane. The Loop Current is very strong in the southern Gulf at this time. There is much more energy present in the south-central Gulf than is typical of this time of year. However, the warm water becomes limited nearer to and north of the Florida coast. Accordingly, I still suspect that Wilma will be a Category 2 hurricane at her next landfall in Florida.

Posted by Bryan Woods | Permalink