October 21, 2005 (HDW) Miami, Florida - Hurricane Wilma struck the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico and was expected to hit Florida by the end of Sunday. The Caribbean and the southern United States were bracing today to what has already been recorded as the strongest hurricane on record.
Hurricane Wilma was a powerful Category 5 storm when a NASA satellite took this picture on October 19, 2005. Less than 24 hours before this image was taken, Wilma had rapidly grown into a record-breaking, powerful storm. Winds around the eyewall of the storm were raging at 280 kilometers per hour (175 miles per hour). Just hours before, National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) aircraft measured a record-low air pressure of 882 millibars in the center of Hurricane Wilma, making it the most intense hurricane ever observed in the Atlantic basin. Wilma also broke records for the fastest development of a storm, going from tropical storm status to Category 5 hurricane in less than 24 hours.