There has never been a hurricane like Wilma before. With an unbelievable round of intensification that saw the pressure drop 85 mb in just 12 hours, Wilma smashed the all-time record for lowest pressure in an Atlantic hurricane this morning.
The 4 am hurricane hunter report put the pressure at 884 mb from a dropsonde, and the meteorologist reported an even lower 881 mb pressure extrapolated from 10,000 feet flight altitude. This easily bests the previous record of 888 mb set in Hurricane Gilbert of 1988. The eye of Wilma during this round of intense deepening oscillated between 2 and 4 nautical miles, and the area of hurricane force winds only covered an area up to 15 miles from the center.
This is an incredibly compact, amazingly intense hurricane, the likes of which has never been seen. The Hurricane Season of 2005 keeps topping itself with new firsts, and now boasts three of the five most intense hurricanes of all time–Katrina, Rita, and Wilma.
Jeff Masters Weather Underground Blog
Okay, so now I’m freaking out a little, even though computer models show Hurricane Wilma turning sharply right, away from the Gulf Coast towards Florida. Unless Wilma suddenly drops as fast as it built up, this could be a major disaster for the southern half of Florida. Crap, crap, and more crap.