Minimal poster, avid reader since discovering this site last year. Thanks to all the professionals and Hank's that volunteer their time, thoughts, knowledge and expertise.
Seems to me we might have a case similar to Rita in one way - stay with me. That is, you see the models clustered (for the most part) over Southern FL the last 2 days. It has been well documented that we won't know where Wilma is going until starts to have the easterly component after her stint of a N component. The models will give us an early indicator where that higher probability strike location will be as early as tomorrow after tomorrow night's 0z runs. Back to Rita - the models where clustered on Houston for a while and then models started to shift and if you caught on early enough and predicted a landfall on the models you'd been pretty darn close about 72 hrs out. I think a similar situation could occur with Wilma. Watch for the trends in the models. I could be off here but Houston is about 100-125 mi from where Rita made landfall. So at this point a Sarasota landfall is about as likely as a Key West landfall. I say anywhere from Hernando to the Keys should stay alert to say the least.
BTW - It kills me to watch the media (local mets) during these storms. Some hyped it last night, some tonight and vice versa. Being born and raised in Tampa, and those of you who haved lived here long enough can attest to what I'm about to say, we have cried wolf so many times that people around here are "numb" to hurricanes. The general consensus I get is that people around here think hurricanes are no big deal and we've been through more than a couple since my first memory of one - Elena 85' The only problem with that is Tampa hasn't been though a true hurricane since 1921 or 28 - forget when it hit. The so called hurricanes we (Tampa) went through last year we maybe classified officially rolling though but I can tell you from my house in NE Tampa we were lucky if we had a hurricane force gust and not many at that. The strongest was with Jeanne. Point is there is a huge difference between that and taking a direct hit from a Cat 3 storm. People around here and wherever it may hit for that matter will be shocked at the damage that occurs if indeed it makes landfall as a Cat 3. Happens every time.
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