Wilma (by HanKFranK)
On this date in 2005, Hurricane Wilma became the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record over the northwest Caribbean. Wilma began to rapidly deepen on October 18, it's pressure falling nearly 100mb in 24 hrs, bottoming out at 882mb on the morning of the 19th. The storm's winds also increased over 100mph during this time period, peaking at an estimated 185MPH. The hurricane moved northwestward and weakened to a category 4 as the eye crossed Cozumel late on the 21st and moved just inland near Cancun the next day, hammering the northwestern Yucatan. Wilma moved offshore and accelerated northeastward, reintensifying to a category 3 before sweeping across southern Florida from near Everglades City to Palm Beach on the morning of October 24 with winds as high as 125MPH. Substantial wind damage occurred across southern Florida, particularly in Monroe, Collier, Palm Beach, Broward, and Dade counties, as the broad core of the hurricane caused widespread hurricane force winds. Power was not restored to parts of south Florida for up to three weeks.
22 deaths are directly attributed to Wilma, with U.S. damage estimated at 14.4 billion. This is slightly higher than the damage figure from Charley in the previous year, and the most damaging in Florida since Andrew in 1992. Mexican damage figures are unavailable, but also likely in the billions. To date Wilma is the third most damaging U.S. hurricane, behind Andrew in 1992, and far below Katrina earlier in 2005.