After hours of being pounded by the Category 4 force winds of Wilma, the Island of Cozumel, Mexico has been in the eye of the hurricane for almost 5 hours now. The system seems to have slowed even further, while maintaining a very well defined eyewall structure. Emily and Gilbert have both pounded this area in the past, but they all passed thru at speeds of up to 20mph. This hurricane is lingering so long that the impact of 120-145mph winds over such an extended period of time must be inflicting extreme damage. The eye is forecast to move right up the NE coast and be over Cancun by around 9pm EST tonight. Rainfall rates have been 2-3 inches per hour in Cancun all afternoon. This is bringing disasterous flooding along with the damaging winds. As I have said for a few days now, I really fear for the type of destruction we are going to see in Mexico after this storm finally passes. It is going to be devastating. They will need a lot of aid and assistance to rebuild this part of Mexico that so many Americans have enjoyed as a favorite vacation spot.
Models today have been in agreement for the first time today, forecasting a Florida landfall around Fort Myers to Naples late Monday/Tuesday as a Category 1-2 hurricane. Evacuations will begin tomorrow and Sunday. It should be interesting to see what kind of strength Wilma maintains as it comes off the Yucatan Peninsula. This will dictate the number of people that choose to evacuate in Florida. As seasoned hurricane veterans, I don't see many of them leaving for a Category 1-2 hurricane.