09 October 2017

Tropical Storm Ophelia forms west of the Azores

The season's 15th named storm, Ophelia, formed about 860 miles west-southwest of the Azores on Monday.  This has been a feature of interest for several days, and it finally consolidated and took on tropical characteristics.  It is forecast to remain over the open ocean and is absolutely no threat to land.  Right now it is embedded in strong vertical wind shear and is disorganized.

The environment should become more favorable later in the week, and Ophelia could easily become the season's 10th hurricane. Not too many seasons ever get that many hurricanes: 2012 had 10, 2010 had 12, 2005 had 15, 1998 had 10, 1995 had 11, etc.  If it does become a hurricane, it would incredibly be the 10th *consecutive* storm this season to reach hurricane status! The steering currents are weak in the region, so we could still be taking about Ophelia next Monday and beyond... and still near the Azores.

After Nate and now the beginning of Ophelia, the season's total Accumulated Cycle Energy (ACE) is up to 254% of average for the date.  And we are just at the beginning of October, a month that historically has proven that it cannot be dismissed; some of the strongest hurricanes on record have occurred during October.

Deeper in the tropics, an easterly wave that we've been watching since it left Africa on Oct 2nd continues to track quietly across the tropics, and is still expected to reach south Florida this weekend (the model consistency on this is remarkable, going back to the middle of last week).  Models bring the disorganized wave north of the Leeward Islands, across the Bahamas on Thursday-Friday, then across the Florida peninsula on Friday-Sunday.  As of now, there is no indication that it is anything of concern, but it's worth keeping an eye on it and at least expect a breezy and wet weekend in south Florida.

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