Ophelia Becomes 10th Atlantic Hurricane of 2017, No Land Threat

Tricia Pearson
October 12, 2017

On average through this date, we only have nine named storms - five hurricanes and two major hurricanes. Ophelia is set to brush past the Azores, the archipelago off the coast of Portugal.

Tropical Storm Ophelia is strengthening and could become a Category 1 hurricane Wednesday night or Thursday, according to the 5 a.m. advisory Wednesday from the National Hurricane Center in Miami. From there, Ophelia has an interesting post-tropical future next week near the Irish Coast. This has not happened in 124 years, or since 1893. Four days later, Lee sprung back to life as a tropical cyclone and eventually strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane on September 27. Ophelia will then run into an approaching deep-layer trough that will make the hurricane accelerate toward the northeast.

The active 2017 hurricane season has another addition for the record books. That's a bit of an unusual track for Atlantic storms.

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Forecasters say Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.

After it has hit Portugal, the remnants of Ophelia could bring strong winds to the UK. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851. All of those occurred in August or September, except for Hurricane Fran in October 1973 and Hurricane Alex in January 2016, which made landfall shortly after weakening to a tropical storm. The storm may still be capable of producing powerful winds, on the order of 60 to 80 miles per hour, when it makes its closest approach to Ireland and the United Kingdom, which it's forecast to do on Monday.

By the time Ophelia reaches northern Europe, it may no longer be a tropical system, instead possibly transitioning into a powerful extratropical low pressure area.

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