In preparation for Hurricane Wilma, heading towards the Yucatan Peninsula and is expected to strike Florida Sunday, people are packing their belongings and trying to escape, before the Hurricane is forecasted to hit.
Hundreds of schools were closed down in the Yucatan peninsula on Thursday and Friday. Many of them turning into shelters, the Associated Press reported, while airlines started canceling flights.
State emergency officials, according to Reuters, warned everyone south of Tampa-Orlando to prepare for Wilma, ordering tourists to evacuate on Wed and the islands' 80,000 residents to evacuate on Friday.
"We had well over a 1,000 lives lost in Katrina. If Wilma…comes into the U.S., to the Florida coast as a Category 3 or 4 hurricane, that potential for large loss of life is with us," AP reported Max Mayfield, director of National Hurricane Center, as saying.
Briefly, Wilma was potentially the most intense Atlantic hurricane on record as it steadily held on with 175 mph winds, a Category 5 storm, and because of its low barometric pressure, which leads to higher wind speeds, resulting in a more powerful hurricane.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, all of the major weather models still project Hurricane Wilma, a Category 4 (131-155 mph) storm to be “extremely dangerous,” even though it's weakening.
Cuba has already evacuated over 200,000 people, and tourists packed airports looking for a flight out of Cancun on Thursday, since forecasters said that the Hurricane would hit Cuba and Cancun early Friday.
Over the weekend, Hurricane Wilma caused floods and landslides that killed at least 12 people in Haiti and Jamaica.
Christian organizations such as The Salvation Army, Samaritan's Purse, Food for the Hungry, and World Vision are still collecting donations for the two Hurricanes, Katrina and Rita, which will now include Wilma to that list.
The White House Administration is making the necessary preparations for Hurricane Wilma saying that "the primary difference between Wilma and Katrina storm preparations is a renewed effort to make coordination levels of government as seamless as possible."