Tropical Storm Ophelia Strengthening On Southeastern Trek

Tropical Storm Ophelia Strengthening On Southeastern Trek

Ophelia would become the 10th consecutive storm to become a hurricane this year. It formed in the Central Atlantic Ocean about 875 miles (1,405 km) west-southwest of the Azores islands.

Ophelia, which is not a threat to the US, could affect the Azores, Portugal and Ireland. This means the storm isn't moving from east to west, like most Atlantic hurricanes.

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.

While Ophelia may lose the technical aspects that make it a hurricane, it could still pack a punch.

Ophalia is presently the only storm the NHC is tracking in the Atlantic or Pacific. It is now forecast to stay west of Portugal before bringing gusty winds and rain to Ireland early next week.

"This is a relatively unusual track for a hurricane to take, but it's not unheard of", said UK Met Office forecaster Aiden McGivern in a video.

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

Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone that has wind speeds of between 39 miles per hour and 73 miles per hour.

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.

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