Ophelia becomes remarkable 10th hurricane of season

Tropical storm Ophelia path track

Tropical storm Ophelia path track

Forecasters at the Miami center say Ophelia should gain muscle over the next 48 hours en route to becoming a hurricane sometime Thursday. This type of post-analysis occurs after every hurricane season, sometimes leading to the addition of previously unnamed storms or tweaking of tropical cyclone intensities.

Ophelia is over only marginally warm enough waters to sustain a tropical cyclone, but the upper atmosphere is crushingly cold causing enough instability for a hurricane to form, said Bob Henson, a meteorologist and blogger with Weather Underground.

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The U.S. National Hurricane Center said in an advisory Wednesday afternoon that Ophelia gained hurricane status as its top sustained winds reached 75 miles per hour.

Ophelia is the 10th consecutive hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season. The other years with ten consecutive hurricanes are 1878, 1886 and 1893. If it picks up speed, it could intensify over the next day or so, then encounter increasing wind shear in three days that should cause it to weaken and fall apart over the weekend, National Hurricane Center forecasters said. That's a bit of an unusual track for Atlantic storms. Ophelia is now tracking towards Portugal, and will likely pass to the west of the country.

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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.

With the organization of Tropical Storm Ophelia, there have now been 15 named storms this season.

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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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