Wednesday, October 19, 2005

2005 Hurricane Season is one for the record books

Hurricane Wilma has potentially set the record for the strongest hurricane on record in the Atlantic. Preliminary reconnaissance data suggest that the barometric pressure of the Category 5 storm is 882 millibars, smashing the previous record of 888 millibars. I say this is preliminary because several analyses of the data from Hurricane Katrina have suggested that she was actually weaker than orginally thought when she made landfall.

Wilma might also be the fastest to reach Category 5 but I'm not sure about that one. All I know is that yesterday morning, it was still a tropical storm and now only twenty-four hours later, it is quite possibly the strongest Category 5 ever recorded. Wilma was able to achieve this status in what might be record time because the internal barometric pressure was dropping at a staggering 8 millibars per hour. According to Brendan Loy, this is extremely impressive considering that a rate of 1 millibar per hour is considered "rapid intensification."

Of course regardless of where Wilma strikes the US Gulf Coast, she will undoubtedly be much weaker by that time, most likely a Category 3, but we have seen what such a storm can do. However, this Category 5 version or even a strong Category 4 could devastate any of the Caribbean islands or cities in Mexico that are currently in it's path on the way to the Gulf Coast.

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