Tropical Storm Ophelia Strengthening On Southeastern Trek

Hurricane Ophelia path track map

The last time a hurricane season produced 10 consecutive storms was in 1893, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach, when tracking hurricanes largely relied on ships and barometric readings. It formed in the Central Atlantic Ocean about 875 miles (1,405 km) west-southwest of the Azores islands.

Ophelia would become the 10th consecutive storm to become a hurricane this year.

Wind shear - which could disrupt the storm's development - is light, and it is passing over sea surface temperatures much warmer than normal, which should help it sustain hurricane strength through at least Friday.

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.

The other disclaimer about tropical cyclones before satellites were routinely used to examine the entire tropical Atlantic Basin in 1966 is that some tropical storms - even hurricanes - may have been missed that could have influenced any streaks, especially in the 19th century.

The non-tropical phase of Ophelia may feature a larger, more intense storm that could bring a range of hazards to Ireland and the United Kingdom, from damaging winds to punishing waves. Then Ophelia will curve north towards Ireland's west coast as a post-tropical storm. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851.

After moving past Spain, forecasters expect Ophelia to come quite close to the Irish coast as a strong storm on Monday.

This could bring a blast of high winds to the Emerald Isle, particularly the western half of Ireland early next week.

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