Wilma in the Southern Gulf Heading for Florida

Hurricane Wilma came off the coast of the Yucatan Peninsula early Sunday and is now moving northeast in the Gulf of Mexico toward southwest Florida.

Wilma began drifting slowly northeast with its 100 mile per hour winds, down from a record peak of 175 miles per hour. Winds are expected in increase Sunday and Monday, but nowhere near the level the storm had been.

The center of Hurricane Wilma is now about 350 miles west south west of Key West, Florida.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect from Longboat Key to Jupiter Inlet on the Atlantic side of Florida; this includes all of the Florida Keys.

A Hurricane Watch remains in effect from Florida’s east coast north of Jupiter Inlet to Titusville.

The National Hurricane Center says the entire southern peninsula, the lower 400 miles of coastline, is now under a warning. It means hurricane conditions can be expected within the next 24 hours south of Tampa Bay.

State and federal officials have prepared for the worst. Dozens of military helicopters and more than 13 million ready to eat meals are on standby.

The outer bands of Wilma have already dumped five inches of rain in some parts of southern Florida.

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