Hurricane Wilma Stalls Over Caribbean - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

10/18/05 – Miami

Hurricane Wilma Stalls Over Caribbean

A car navigates through floodwater from Tropical Storm Wilma on the Mandela Highway on Monday, Oct. 17, in Kingston, Jamaica. Wilma was expected to bring heavy rain in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. (AP PHOTO/Collin Reid ) A car navigates through floodwater from Tropical Storm Wilma on the Mandela Highway on Monday, Oct. 17, in Kingston, Jamaica. Wilma was expected to bring heavy rain in the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. (AP PHOTO/Collin Reid )

Wilma is now the 12th hurricane of the 2005 hurricane season. The storm is currently stalled over the Caribbean.


Wilma entered the history books Monday as the Atlantic hurricane season's 21st named storm, tying the record set in 1933 and exhausting this year's list of storm names.

Forecasters said it could become a Category 3 hurricane, with wind exceeding 111 mph by Wednesday. That many hurricanes formed in 1969, the most since record keeping began in 1851.

"Wilma is expected to become an intense hurricane in the northwestern Caribbean Sea," which has warm water and favorable wind currents, said Lixion Avila, a hurricane specialist at the National Hurricane Center.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Wilma's top sustained wind speed was about 75 mph, and is now a Category 1 hurricane.

Meteorologists said Wilma was nearly stationary over the northwest Caribbean Sea about 245 miles south-southeast of Grand Cayman, but it was expected to gradually move toward the west and northwest.

New forecast models placed the storm closer to western Cuba than Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula by Friday. The storm was forecast to then turn sharply in the Gulf of Mexico toward Florida during the weekend.

"There's no scenario now that takes it toward Louisiana or Mississippi, but that could change," said Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami.

New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin warned residents Monday to prepare for another evacuation if Wilma strengthened and moved toward the city. The Gulf Coast was already battered this year by Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Dennis, while Emily hit Mexico.

A hurricane watch remained in effect for the Cayman Islands, and a tropical storm warning was posted there and for the coast of Honduras. Two to 6 inches of rain is likely in the Caymans, southeastern Cuba, Haiti, Honduras and Jamaica, with up to 12 inches possible in some areas, forecasters said.

The six-month hurricane season ends Nov. 30. Wilma is the last on the list of storm names for 2005; there are 21 names on the yearly list because the letters Q, U, X, Y and Z are skipped. If any other storms form, letters from the Greek alphabet would be used, starting with Alpha. That has never happened in roughly 60 years of regularly named Atlantic storms.

On the Net:

National Hurricane Center :
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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