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Hurricane Ophelia becomes 10th hurricane of 2017

12 October, 2017, 00:47 | Author: Joan Malone
  • Hurricane Ophelia path track map

The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Wednesday afternoon that Ophelia gained hurricane status as its top sustained winds reached 120 km/h. It formed in the Central Atlantic Ocean about 875 miles (1,405 km) west-southwest of the Azores islands.

Ophelia would become only the third tropical cyclone to hit the west coast of Portugal or Spain since records began, following a storm in October 1842 and Hurricane Vince (as a tropical depression) in October 2005.

Forecasters expect Ophelia to continue to slowly move on a northeast track before accelerating toward Europe.

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This would tie the record for the most consecutive Atlantic named storms reaching hurricane strength, which also happened in three other years: 1878, 1886 and 1893, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University tropical meteorologist. Ophelia will then run into an approaching deep-layer trough that will make the hurricane accelerate toward the northeast.

Forecasters say Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday. Ophelia is now tracking towards Portugal, and will likely pass to the west of the country. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851. 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. Strongest winds are far from the center and higher in the atmosphere.

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