With the NHC's 11 AM update, Wilma became the 12th hurricane of the season. Looks like those Gulf coaster's and oil speculators can rest a little easier, but people in southern Florida will have to watch out. The current 5 day track has it curving around the western tip of Cuba and crossing the southern tip of Florida by the weekend.
From today's 11 AM discussion:
WILMA IS BEING UPGRADED TO A HURRICANE BASED ON SUBJECTIVE DVORAK CLASSIFICATIONS OF T4.0 FROM ALL AGENCIES...AND OBJECTIVE T NUMBERS FROM UW/CIMSS OF T4.5 SINCE 09Z. ANOTHER RECONNAISSANCE AIRCRAFT IS SCHEDULED TO BE IN THE SYSTEM THIS AFTERNOON. COLD CONVECTION IS BEING MAINTAINED OVER THE CENTER...AND STRONG UPPER-LEVEL OUTFLOW CHANNELS CONTINUE TO THE NORTHEAST AND SOUTHWEST OF THE CENTER. OCEANIC HEAT CONTENT AHEAD OF WILMA IS HIGH. THE ONLY INHIBITING FACTOR IS THE DRY AIR MASS IN THE GULF AND EXTREME NORTHWESTERN CARIBBEAN...BUT THE LARGE AND GROWING CIRCULATION OF WILMA SHOULD BE ABLE TO KEEP MUCH OF THIS AIR FROM REACHING THE CORE. A HIGH LIKELIHOOD OF RAPID STRENGTHENING IS INDICATED BY THE SHIPS RAPID INTENSIFICATION INDEX...AND IT IS LIKELY THAT WILMA WILL BE A MAJOR HURRICANE WHEN IT ENTERS THE SOUTHEASTERN GULF OF MEXICO. AS WILMA ACCELERATES NORTHEASTWARD LATE IN THE FORECAST PERIOD...WIND SHEAR IS FORECAST TO INCREASE...BUT THERE MAY NOT BE ENOUGH OF IT TO WEAKEN WILMA VERY QUICKLY. HOWEVER...IT IS WORTH REMEMBERING THAT THERE IS LITTLE SKILL IN LONG-RANGE INTENSITY FORECASTS.