Hurricane Wilma was a powerful Category 5 storm when the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on NASA’s Terra satellite took this image at 12:40 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 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.
The high-resolution image provided above has a spatial resolution of 250 meters per pixel. The MODIS Rapid Response Team provides this image at additional resolutions.
Hurricane Wilma formed in the Carribean as a tropical depression on October 15, 2005, becoming the 21st named storm of the 2005 hurricane season, the most active on record save for 1933, which also had 21 named storms.