Quote: For those of us in Pinellas County... Do you think that the affects will be similar to Frances & Jeanne last year? Better or worse?
I do not believe that Wilma will be as bad for Pinellas County as Frances or Jeanne was, unless the storm moves farther north than expected. As of now, we are probably looking at tropical storm force gusts (45-55mph), but nothing more. If you recall, Jeanne and Frances both generated a strong onshore NW wind on the Pinellas coast that--because of unimpeded flow over the Gulf--gave us sustained TS winds with some hurricane force gusts during Jeanne on the immediate coast. When Wilma is at its closest, our winds will be from the east over land, thus we will not get a severe "backlash" on the coast. This, coupled with the fact that we will be on the weaker northern side of the storm, will probably result in only sustained winds around 30-35 mph with gusts to TS force. Of course, we still should be preparing for a direct hit , because we are still within the cone of uncertainty. Most likely, however, Wilma will come in a bit south of us...how far south remains to be seen.
-------------------- Ronn Raszetnik - Hazards Geographer
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