Tropical Storm Ophelia not a hurricane yet; no threat to the US

  • Tropical Storm Ophelia not a hurricane yet; no threat to the US

Tropical Storm Ophelia not a hurricane yet; no threat to the US

This would tie the record for the most consecutive Atlantic named storms to reach hurricane strength.

Some of Ophelia's rain bands are likely to hit the Azores islands over the weekend.

Out in the far eastern Atlantic, days away from threatening land, Tropical Storm Ophelia made waves by forming into a hurricane on Wednesday afternoon, becoming the tenth consecutive storm to do so this season and tying an all-time record for the first time in more than a century. From there, Ophelia has an interesting post-tropical future next week near the Irish Coast.

The latest forecast from the U.S. National Hurricane Center said, "at 500 PM AST, the center of Hurricane Ophelia was located near latitude 30.0 North, longitude 36.1 West. Ophelia is moving toward the east near 3 miles per hour [6 km/h]". This has not happened in 124 years, or since 1893.

There are a couple of caveats to this record, however.

But the record deserves an asterisk because Lee could have counted as two storms, according to Brenden Moses, a researcher working on the National Hurricane Center databases.

After briefly becoming a tropical storm, Lee degenerated into a remnant low on September 18 about halfway between West Africa and the Lesser Antilles.

The graphic shows the pathway of Hurricane Ophelia. Hurricane Season does not officially end until November 30th. Before satellites, it was hard to keep accurate records of Atlantic hurricanes.

Forecasters expect Ophelia to continue in that general motion Thursday, but called for the storm to speed up while moving toward the northeast Friday.

Previously, only two tropical cyclones have struck the coasts of Spain and Portugal in the past - a transitioning hurricane in October 1842 and Hurricane Vince, as a tropical depression, in October 2005.

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

Ophelia is forecast to track northeast through Monday.

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.