Hurricane Watch Issued for Cayman Islands; Storm May Impact U.S.

October 16, 2005

After a slight lull in the Atlantic hurricane season, things may be heating up again.

A hurricane watch was in effect for the Cayman Islands as a tropical depression churned through the Atlantic on a path that may threaten the U.S. Gulf Coast later this week as a hurricane, according to forecasters at the National Hurricane Center. Tropical storm Wilma became the 21st named storm of the 2005 season.

At 2 p.m. EDT on Monday, Wilma was recording sustained winds of 50 mph, up 10 mph from earlier in the day, and was centered about 235 miles southeast of Grand Cayman. It was moving southward but was expected to turn toward the west.

The hurricane watch issued for the Cayman Islands means hurricane conditions could be felt there within 36 hours. Up to 12 inches of rain was possible in the Caymans, Honduras and Jamaica.

Long-term forecasts show the storm would likely move west and north, placing the storm in the Gulf of Mexico on Thursday or Friday. Forecasters indicated that water temperature and other conditions were favorable for it to become a significant hurricane.

While the U.S. Gulf Coast could be impacted, forecasters said the storm is not well enough defined at this point to say for certain if and where it may become a hurricane.

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