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Wednesday, October 19, 2005

She's A Record Breaker

Hurricane Wilma rapidly gained strength overnight and is now a category 5 storm! A recon plane found a pressure of 892 mb around 2:30 this morning, then 884 mb around 5 a.m., ranking Wilma as the most intense hurricane to ever be recorded in the Atlantic basin! It is also the fastest intensification of any hurricane in recorded history. Wilma is packing winds over 175 mph, with higher gusts. AccuWeather.com Senior Hurricane Expert Joe Bastardi says it is a very compact storm, with an eye just 4 miles wide and hurricane force winds extending outward only 15 miles from center.

The 2005 Atlantic Basin hurricane season doesn't end until November 30, but the list of names has already been exhausted. Hurricane Wilma is the 21st named storm of the season and the 12th hurricane of the year, tying records in both categories. There are only 21 names on the annual list of storms, because Q, U, X, Y and Z are not used.

There has never been more than 21 named storms in one season. If a record breaking storm develops before the official end of the season, it will be given the name Alpha, the first letter in the Greek alphabet.

Info from www.accuweather.com