“O” – my! Ophelia has become the 15th named storm of the 2017 season and is forecast to strengthen into a hurricane.
The National Hurricane Center (NOAA) in Miami has released its latest coordinates locating the tropical storm at about 860 miles west-southwest of the Azores as of the update.
Ophelia’s maximum sustained winds are at 40 mph and is moving north-northeasterly at 5mph.
According to NOAA, the system is expected to make a turn toward the northeast later today. Additionally, the storm is forecast to strengthen, possibly becoming a hurricane within the next 72 hours.
The good news? Tropical Storm Ophelia is not currently a threat to the U.S., or for any landfall. Its current path would take the system toward western Europe, but does not pose any risk at this time.
Ophelia was known as Tropical Depression #17 until earlier today, when it was upgraded to Tropical Storm status, thereby taking on the name Ophelia.
This storm follows a slew of deadly hurricanes which have accounted for about 200 deaths.
Historically speaking, this season – which still has almost two months left to go – is the first year in recorded history (dating back to 1851), in which three Category-4 hurricanes (Harvey, Irma and Maria) directly hit the United States and its territories in the same year.
Without a doubt, the 2017 hurricane-related costs will be one of the highest in history too. But official totals won’t be available until early 2018.
Thankfully, it is not likely that this year will surpass the mayhem of 2005, when an all-time record of 15 hurricanes formed. The two years do share a common record in that four hurricanes directly struck the U.S. in a single season.
The Weather Channel has statistically placed the current season (so far) in the top 10 most active Atlantic Basin Hurricane Seasons.