UPDATE: Wilma Soaks Yucatan, Monday Landfall in Florida Expected; TS Alpha Forms

October 22, 2005

Hurricane Wilma pounded Mexico’s coastline for a second straight day Saturday, with reports of several deaths and thousands of tourists hunkering down in shelters trying to wait out the storm.

Wilma, which had fallen to a Category 2 as it slowly moved northward with sustained winds of 100 mph, was likely to pick up speed Sunday, sideswiping Cuba before it heads into Florida on Monday. A hurricane watch was issued Saturday for the entire southern Florida peninsula, with heavy rain from Wilma’s outer bands already causing flooding in the Fort Lauderdale area.

As Wilma’s eye passed over Cancun on Saturday, some willing residents ventured briefly from their hiding spots to view the flooded, debris-filled streets.

According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 11 a.m. EDT on Sunday, Wilma had maximum sustained wind near 100 mph. It was located about 285 miles west-southwest of Key West and was moving toward the northeast at about 8 mph.

As if that wasn’t enough, a record 22nd tropical storm – Alpha – formed in the Atlantic.

Alpha sets the record for the most number of storms in an Atlantic hurricane season, according to forecasters.

At 8 p.m. EDT Saturday, Alpha was centered some 70 miles south of Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and moving northwest at about 15 mph.

Editor’s note: See related items in Southeast news.

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