The meteorological history of Hurricane Wilma, the most intense known tropical cyclone in the Western Hemisphere, began in the second week of October 2005. A large area of disturbed weather developed across much of the Caribbean Sea and gradually organized to the southeast of Jamaica. By late on October 15, the system was sufficiently organized for the National Hurricane Center to designate it as Tropical Depression Twenty-Four. The depression drifted southwestward, and under favorable conditions, it strengthened into Tropical Storm Wilma on October 17. From October 18, and through the following day, Wilma underwent explosive deepening over the open waters of the Caribbean; in a 30-hour period, the system's central atmospheric pressure dropped to the record-low value of 882 mbar (26.05 inHg), while the winds increased to 185 mph (295 km/h). After the inner eye dissipated due to an eyewall replacement cycle, Wilma weakened to Category 4 status, and on October 21, it made landfall on Cozumel and on the Mexican mainland with winds of about 150 mph (240 km/h).
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Today's selected anniversaries:
World War II: In one of the largest naval battles in modern history, Allied forces defeated the Imperial Japanese Navy at the Battle of Leyte Gulf in the seas surrounding the Philippine island of Leyte.
U.S. President George W. Bush signed the USA PATRIOT Act into law, significantly expanding the authority of U.S. law enforcement agencies in fighting terrorism in the United States and abroad.
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