21 September 2011

TS Ophelia forms

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The easterly wave that exited the African coast on Sep 16 was upgraded to Tropical Storm Ophelia at 03Z today.  This is the 15th named storm of the season... climatologically by this date we would have just 7 named storms!

A fairly recent ASCAT overpass from 12Z shows a nice closed surface circulation with TS-force winds in the north half (ASCAT is a satellite-based microwave scatterometer which is able to retrieve surface wind speed and direction over water by detecting the surface roughness caused by winds disturbing the ocean's surface).

At 15Z this morning, Ophelia's intensity was estimated at 50kts with a minimum central pressure of 1005mb.  It's located about 1100 miles east of the Lesser Antilles and tracking W at 14kts.  It's being sheared, so the intensification has likely leveled off and it will continue to the W-WNW over the next several days as a TS.  The official forecast places it just north of Puerto Rico in 5 days as a TS, and the majority of model guidance supports that scenario.

Please visit my tropical Atlantic headquarters.

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