Hurricane Wilma Photography & Video Stock Footage
by Martin Kucera
October 19th, 2005 - It is early
Wednesday morning and a look out of
the window only confirms the  reality.
Hurricane   Wilma  was  born and  it`s
outer bands are knocking on our door.  
A  beautiful build-up right  outside of
my window this morning.
Hurricane Wilma
I have a feeling this is going to be the last hurricane of this spectacular
season and it is going to be yet another major event. It`s track takes it
extremely close to the Keys if not right over sometime starting Friday and
continuing well into the weekend.
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
Rain shaft embedded in a squall line
generated by distant Hurricane Wilma
Leading edge of a squall line produced by
Hurricane Wilma
Well it`s 3:30 pm I am at home and hoping that tonight some of the outer
bands are going to start to effect the local area. I am always happy when the
outer spiral bands bring some stronger squalls, heavy storms and plenty of
lightning. For some strange reason some hurricanes have huge amounts of
lightning whereas some other have almost none. I remember last year in
2004 during the infamous hurricane Charley there was such a lightning
show over the Florida straits I could not believe it.

As soon as the hurricane draws closer it`s the decision time. Most probably
I will ride this one out here in the Upper Keys. I still can only imagine what
kind of wrath such a powerful hurricane can cause to the Keys. Hurricane
Rita was technically not even category one when it brushed the Keys not
long ago and the storm surge and flooding was bad enough !  Reason I am
saying all this - the current cat 5 is most probably not going to get much
weaker before making a landfall somewhere along western Florida coast.
Let's just wait, get ready and see....


October 20th - 4pm - Nothing much happening as of yet... a lot of high level
cirrus covering South Florida at the moment. We are really going to begin
to feel the effects starting tomorrow. Wilma is cat 4 now with max
sustained winds around 145 mph. Additional strengthening is expected
before making landfall somewhere in Florida late Saturday or Sunday.
7pm - some small lightning show
happened over the Florida Bay and
hopefully later tonight I'll have a
change to get some more decent shots.

<< A positively charged lightning bolt associated with
        Hurricane Wilma strikes nearby
, over the              
          Florida Bay just north of Islamorada, FL
October 22nd - It`s two days later now and the hurricane Wilma is still
lurking
over Cancun, Mexico punishing the area with strong sustained
winds and flooding. Even though the hurricane weakened some it still
might regain it`s strength some before it slams into Florida's west coast.
Just remember what Charley did last year in just about the same region - it
gained from category two to cat four in a matter of several hours.
Nothing much happening now here in the Florida Keys with the exception
that a phased mandatory evacuation finally started today. Overcast and
warm humid temperatures have prevailed for several days now. Visibility
is low - looks like somebody spilled some milk in the sky and if it wasn`t
for the tropical system you would already be able to feel the signs of the
Fall.
Hurricane Wilma
First bands of Hurricane Wilma are beginning        A Coast Guard helicopter flying through
to affect the Upper Florida Keys                
                  a heavy rain band of Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
October 23rd, 7pm - went out
this  lovely  surreal  evening  to
check  out  the   approaching
hurricane. It is getting closer by
a minute. Tomorrow morning it
is all going to be almost over and
then I guess we`ll have to wait
till next year. I'll get some video
overnight and in the morning.
Wilma is a category two storm
Leading edge of outer bands' first squall.
There is a hint of a rotation in this image.
now with maximum sustained winds of 105
mph.

11pm - Hurricane Wilma has just been
upgraded to a category 3 hurricane with max
sustained winds of 115 mph which makes it a
major hurricane now...

October 24th, 01am - First of the stronger
bands finally arrived... we are getting wind
gusts of about 40-50mph range. There also
have been tornado warnings here and there and a giant waterspout
filmed in Key West yesterday afternoon. All these warnings still in
Lower Keys though. Lights have been flickering for the past half
hour or so. I was thinking whether to go to the Everglades City but
somehow I feel I should be covering it here in the Keys. The lure of a
 tornadic waterspout in the early morning hours is still there I guess.
Well I'll be online updating and putting my thoughts here until the
electricity goes out.

1:30 am - 24.000 people just lost power in parts of Key West... it is just
a question of time till it goes out here... oh well, will set the alarm
for 6 am and try to catch some sleep so I can wake up early for the
morning action - that is - if I'll be able to sleep - the noise is just
incredible.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
October 25th - The electricity is back on. We lost it at about 2 am
following the above column. It was quite incredible. No way I could
sleep in that heat and the noise. The concrete building I live in was
shaking like a toy when it hit - it was a major hurricane but it could
have been worse. I guess it has something to do with the pressure
inside the building but during some of the blasts I thought the walls
are just going to come apart. Couldn't wait for daylight. The time
was passing so agonizingly slow and I was just walking back and
forth not exactly knowing what to do. I tried to watch the candle for
a while but it helped none. The time just would stand still. So I read
the book with a candle next to me. Then I tried to sleep again to no
avail. I couldn't videotape anything since it was pitch black dark
outside. The only thing I could record was the incredible sound. It
felt like the apartment is haunted or something. Like a giant
creature is breathing just outside your walls.

When the daylight finally happened I just grabbed the camcorder
and ran outside. Everything was flying. I did not know any data
about the hurricane so I went to the car to try to listen to a radio but
none of the stations were on. Only one and it was some Spanish
channel. Well I tried to guesstimate the position of the hurricane
from the direction the winds were blowing from. It must have been
just north of me. It felt like the southern part was coming over
Islamorada. The storm surge in the neighborhood was minimal. The
wind damage was going to be the story.  I guess I must have been
the very first driver out there to hit the US1 Highway. I traveled
extremely slow especially over the bridges. About ten minutes later
I pulled over and immediately got hit by a pretty intense band of
rain and wind. Once in town I enjoyed some protection from
surrounding trees and houses. A lot of street signs were down and i
saw some pretty large trees just snapped in half or uprooted.
Damage was everywhere. But it could have been worse. Some time
later when the hurricane was exiting the east Florida coast the storm
surge came up on the Bay side of the Keys along the back side of the
hurricane where northerly winds only helped. Within an hour the
water level raised several feet and a lot of properties and business
were suddenly under the water.  Winds began to slack during the
afternoon and the tornado watch was cancelled. Oh well. At least we
had a nice sunset that evening if not electricity. It sucks not to have
electricity. I don't care for food or stuff like that but the silence and
the fact that you pretty much have to go to sleep at 8pm shortly after
sunset is quite an experience. And you wake up four hours later
hating that nasty heat again and you are in for a long, lonely night...
Hurricame Wilma
The Aftermath...
Hurricane Wilma
Hurricane Wilma
Anybody needs sand ?
October 26th - I went to Key Largo today. There is still a lot of
traffic streaming south toward Key West
. I guess the officials
did not let a lot of people come down here right after the
hurricane. There was also a convoy of several large semi trucks
going down to Key West - they were part of FEMA effort and
loaded with drinking water, MREs and other need
ed stuff.  
Every single gas station was packed and long lines of cars were
waiting to fill up. Seemed like all the folks coming down here
from the mainland needed gas bad. The authorities have
everything under control and things run smooth down here.
October 24th, 9am
October 26th, 6pm
(c) 2005 - FloridaLightning.com