Wilma kills 7 in Mexico, gains power and speeds up to Florida

According to the National Hurricane Center, the hurricane is not to make a Cat.4 upgrade

Hurricane Wilma's speedy approach to Florida has brought heavy rain to Key West early Monday. Having upgraded to Category 3 hurricane, Wilma threatens Florida with 115-mph winds, tornadoes and floodwaters. Hurricane Wilma

The Category 3 hurricane was expected to make landfall before dawn in the state's southwest corner, likely near Naples and Marco Island, National Hurricane Center Director Max Mayfield said. He warned that the storm surge in the area could reach 14 to 19 feet.

Hurricane Wilma caused massive damage in Cancun and at other resorts along the "Maya Riviera" with three days of wild winds and rain. Hotels and streets were flooded and littered with debris, and homes and stores were destroyed.

Click here to see the photo gallery of Wilma's power

Seven people were killed in the storm, many fewer than feared given its size and ferocity. Mexican authorities helped limit the human cost by ordering tourists out of beachfront hotels and putting them in makeshift shelters.

"There is huge devastation. This hurricane has provoked a tremendous impact. But Mexico has experience and it was demonstrated right from the beginning, saving lives," Mexican President Vicente Fox said.

Wilma was upgraded late Sunday to a category three storm after it displayed sustained winds of 185km/h which qualified it for category three status, US National Hurricane Center forecaster Jamie Rhome said.

The center said it did not expect further significant changes in the strength of Wilma until it makes landfall in Florida today. "This is a very dangerous hurricane," hurricane center director Max Mayfield said those who have not yet evacuated the coastal area to do so and find a reliable shelter.

Source: agencies

AP photo

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Author`s name Olga Savka