Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Wobbling Wilma Weakens

South to southwesterly breezes ahead of a cold front are pushing temperatures in the Washington DC metro area again into the upper 70s this afternoon. There is virtually no precipitation anywhere in the U.S. east of the Rockies.

Tonight and Tomorrow

Temperatures tonight will drop into the low 50s. Tomorrow will feature considerable clouds and cooler temperatures with highs around 64.

Tropical Beat

Hurricane Wilma intensified at an astonishing rate overnight, reaching the Atlantic Basin record low barometric pressure of 882 mb/26.05 inches this morning. (The previous record was 888 in '88 with Gilbert.) The storm weakened slightly during the day; the pressure rose to 900 mb at 2pm, and the maximum winds were "only" 165 mph, down from 175. At 5pm, max winds were 160 mph, and pressure was 892 mb. The path was wobbling (Can you say "trochoidal", boys and girls?) around an average direction of west-northwest at 7 mph.

Conditions will be somewhat less favorable once Wilma enters the Gulf of Mexico, but it is still likely to be quite strong if it approaches Florida as expected towards the weekend. All interests in the Florida Keys and peninsula need to keep an eye on developments. Some models are suggesting the hurricane will link up with a low pressure trough now moving eastward through the U.S. This could threaten parts of the East Coast, particularly southeastern New England. On the other hand, a close encounter with the Yucatan could throw a monkey wrench into the whole scenario.

Climate Mash
Just in time for Halloween is the Climate Mash, a fun video from the Clear the Air organization.

Broadcast News

The PBS NewsHour had a discussion about hurricane activity last night with Christopher Landsea, a meteorologist with the hurricane research division at NOAA, and Judith Curry, a climate scientist and chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology.

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Seasonal Outlook

Latest seasonal forecast: Click here.

Latest 3-month temperature outlook from Climate Prediction Center/NWS/NOAA.