It is being described as “potentially catastrophic.” And it is being warned that it is a storm that could cause tremendous damage and major loss of life.
Although its top winds have weakened, Wilma briefly became the fiercest Atlantic hurricane ever recorded.
Having already triggered mudslides that killed up to 10 people in Haiti, it is set to brush past the Mexican coast and Cuba before striking Florida later this week. Officials in Cuba have declared a state of emergency in western areas. Coastal residents are being evacuated as the island braces itself for a battering.
“It is the most intense hurricane in the Atlantic so far,” explained one Cuban expert.
“It reached Category Five overnight with a minimum pressure of 882 millibars, which is a record.”
Mexico too is in the firing line and at the holiday resort of Cancun, the airport was packed with tourists and locals eager to get out of town.
“I guess I am a coward,” said holidaymaker Kim Cameron.
“The people seem very calm but I have been in a hurricane before and I don’t want to be in another one.”
Florida is set to have its date with Wilma this weekend. That is why many there too are evacuating, boarding up their properties and filling their cars with fuel.