Wilma Hits Mexico; Florida Should See Storm Early Next Week

Category 4 Hurricane Wilma hit portions of Mexico today (Oct. 21) with maximum sustained winds of 145 mph. Hurricane-force winds extended out from the hurricane up to 85 miles, and tropical storm winds reached outward up to 200 miles. The hurricane is expected to make landfall on the western coast of Florida on Monday.

According to a 10 a.m. EDT National Weather Service (NWS) public advisory, a hurricane warning remained in effect from San Felipe to Chetumal on the Yucatan Peninsula, which includes Cozumel and other nearby islands (the storm was about 35 miles southeast of Cozumel at the time of the advisory). Areas west of San Felipe to Celestun remained under a hurricane watch. The hurricane was moving toward the northwest at about 5 miles per hour. "On this track…the core of Wilma will be over Cozumel during the next several hours and be near the northeastern coast of the Yucatan Peninsula later today or tonight," said the public advisory.

"Wilma has a large circulation, and hurricane conditions are probably already being experienced along portions of the northeastern coast of Yucatan," the report continued. Cancun radar continues to show strong rainbands over Cozumel and Cancun."

The NWS Key West office reported the storm was about 420 miles southwest of Key West in an 11 a.m. hurricane local statement. The local statement said Florida Keys residents should continue preparations to protect homes and businesses. Emergency management officials were encouraging residents to evacuate voluntarily. It is possible a mandatory evacuation of residents might be required in areas tomorrow (October 22). Winds were expected to remain safe for travel of high-profile vehicles through tomorrow evening.

Two to four inches of rain were expected through Sunday in areas of the Keys, and additional heavier rainfall was forecasted for Sunday night and Monday. The local statement predicted Wilma's landfall in the Keys. "Tropical storm force winds will be possible late Sunday night or early Monday morning. Hurricane force winds are possible thereafter." 

About the Author

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief

Stephanie L. Church, Editor-in-Chief, received a B.A. in Journalism and Equestrian Studies from Averett College in Danville, Virginia. A Pony Club and 4-H graduate, her background is in eventing, and she is schooling her recently retired Thoroughbred racehorse, Happy, toward a career in that discipline. She also enjoys traveling, photography, cycling, and cooking in her free time.

Stay on top of the most recent Horse Health news with FREE weekly newsletters from TheHorse.com. Learn More

Free Newsletters

Sign up for the latest in:

From our partners