Ophelia becomes the 10th hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season

Tropical storm Ophelia path track

Tropical Storm Ophelia is expected to strengthen to a hurricane as it spins far out over the Atlantic.

Ophelia, which the National Hurricane Center upgraded to a hurricane around 4:30 p.m., ties a streak set in 1878 and reached again in 1996 and 1893, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University specializing in Atlantic Basin seasonal hurricane forecasts. It is also expected to make a gradual turn to the northeast starting Thursday night.

Its sustained wind speeds are 75 miles per hour with higher gusts. Some further strengthening is possible over the next two days. Hurricane Season does not officially end until November 30th.

Hurricane Ophelia is the latest weather system to whip up winds and rain in the Atlantic.

By Monday, Ophelia could reach the coast of Ireland as an extra-tropical storm with winds close to hurricane strength, according to forecasters.

Hurricane Ophelia formed Wednesday in the open waters of the Atlantic Ocean. Incidentally, all of them have arrived in the months of August or September, except for Hurricane Fran, which swept past the area in October 1973 and Hurricane Alex in January 2016. Before satellites, it was hard to keep accurate records of Atlantic hurricanes.

According to NOAA's historical hurricane database, only 15 hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851.

This could bring a blast of high winds to the Emerald Isle, particularly the western half of Ireland early next week. But the storm is heading east toward the northwest coast of Spain instead of crossing the Atlantic toward the hurricane-ravaged Caribbean.



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