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A look back: Irma follows in Wilma’s footsteps

Twelve years after southern Florida was battered by Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Irma, a tropical cyclone baring a striking resemblance to Wilma, is poised to strike the peninsula. WTOP's Dave Dildine covered Category 3 Wilma as the cyclone made landfall.

WASHINGTON — Twelve years after southern Florida was battered by Hurricane Wilma, Hurricane Irma, a tropical cyclone baring a striking resemblance to Wilma, is poised to strike the peninsula. Irma is expected to strengthen as it nears the Gulf Coast of Florida early Sunday.

The state hasn’t been hit by a major hurricane since Wilma in October 2005. Like Irma, Wilma was an intense Category 5 hurricane before threatening the state; both storms attained sustained wind speeds up to 185 over open waters, landing them near the top of the list of most intense storms observed in the Atlantic Basin.

WTOP’s Dave Dildine covered Wilma as the cyclone made landfall in southwestern Florida near Cape Romano on October 24, bringing sustained winds up to 120 miles per hour onshore. The photos in the following gallery were taken in Marco Island as hurricane conditions damaged countless trees, power lines and structures.