Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Florida prepares for maximum power Wilma - Times

Just one comment about Hurricane strengths.

Category 5 is the maximum hurricane strength. However this scale has a linear progression: +19 mph on average from one category to another. The lower limit of category 5 are sustained winds of 154 mph. The current sustained winds of hurricane Wilma have already reached 175 mph. That's 21 mph more...

In other words, hurricanes have recently reached such strength that a new category of storm could well be defined as category 6.

That's why you would hear in the news that Wilma is an "extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane".


Times Online
October 19, 2005Florida prepares for maximum power Wilma By Sam Knight and agencies
Hurricane Wilma grew rapidly into a maximum strength, Category 5 storm this morning as it continues its erratic journey north through the Caribbean and towards Florida.
Wilma, the 12th hurricane in this year's record season, is currently carrying 175mph (282 kph) winds and bringing heavy rain to Central America. The eye of the storm, which is moving north at around 8mph is 170 miles (274km) south of the Cayman Islands, off the coast of Honduras.
The storm has worsened quickly. Wilma became a hurricane yesterday and in the space of just half an hour overnight, plunged from a Category 4 storm to a Category 5 brute, the speed of its winds increasing by 65mph.
The latest advisory from the US National Hurricane Centre measured a minimum pressure of 892 millibars in the middle of the storm, the lowest on record since the Labour Day hurricane of 1935, that killed around 400 people in Florida.
"We do not know how long it will maintain this Category 5 state," said Trisha Wallace, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Center.
Wilma's movements are being scrutinised by countries throughout the Caribbean, with predictions suggesting that the storm will strike Cuba and Florida at the end of the week.
Honduras has closed two ports and Nicaragua, Mexico and Cuba have all declared alerts as authorities hope the hurricane passes by. Wilma has already caused mudslides and one death in Jamaica.
In Florida, struck by six hurricanes last year, some residents are already buying food and water and building materials to strengthen their homes for the possible landfall of Wilma.
"It does look like it poses a significant threat to Florida by the weekend. Of course, these are four and five-day forecasts, so things can change," said Dan Brown, a meteorologist at the National Hurricane Centre.
Wilma’s track could take it near Punta Gorda on Florida’s southwestern Gulf Coast and other towns hit by Hurricane Charley, a Category 4 storm, in August 2004. Hurricanes have killed 150 people and caused more than $20 billion in damage in Florida in the last 12 months.
Wilma became the hurricane season's 21st storm on Monday, tying a record that has stood since 1933 and exhausting the list of names for the year.
On gaining hurricane-strength, Wilma became the record-equalling 12th hurricane of the season, the same number reached in 1969, and the most in a year since records began in 1851. The hurricane season ends on November 30.


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