Pacific Disaster Center Fostering Disaster Resilient Communities  

Providing Weather and Hazard Related News

Weather Wall




Tropical Cyclone Activity Report – Atlantic Ocean / Caribbean Sea / Gulf of Mexico

Tropical Cyclone 17L (Ophelia) is located about 670 miles southwest of the Azores

Hurricane Ophelia remains active over the far eastern Atlantic…as a Category 2 system

Here’s a satellite view, with the looping version…along with what the computer models are showing

Here’s a graphic showing where Ophelia is, along with other current information

Hurricane Ophelia has likely peaked in strength, far out in the Atlantic Ocean

Hurricane Ophelia is not a threat to the United States, although potentially brushing parts of the Azores this weekend.

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

Ophelia may become a dangerous post-tropical system next week…near the Irish Coast.

While the storm poses no threat to land at the moment, it has become the 10th consecutive storm to grow to hurricane strength…a streak of intense systems that have tied a record last set in the late 1800’s.

It comes in a season that has already produced five major hurricanes, including three Category 5 storms…and 15 named storms.

Maximum sustained winds are 105 mph

According to the NHC:

Hurricane Ophelia  Discussion Number 16
NWS National Hurricane Center Miami FL
1100 PM AST Thur Oct 12 2017

Remarkably, the hurricane has continued to strengthen this evening. Satellite images indicate that cloud tops in the eyewall have cooled in the past several hours, with a warm eye remaining. Dvorak estimates from TAFB, SAB and CIMSS range between 90 to 95 kt, so the initial intensity is raised to 90 kt.

It seems that the marginal SSTs that Ophelia has been moving over have been offset by the cold upper-level temperatures and low shear environment. SSTs only slightly cool in the next 24 hours with similar shear conditions, so a minor decrease in strength is in the forecast. After that time, while the hurricane should move over colder waters, it will likely be accelerating to the northeast and experiencing favorable mid-latitude jet dynamics, which will help to maintain the cyclone’s intensity. All of the guidance show extratropical transition by 3 days with the cyclone keeping hurricane-force winds, as indicated in the new forecast. Little change was made to the previous prediction, except to account for the higher initial wind speed.

Ophelia is finally moving, estimated at 6 kt to the east-northeast. This general motion with an increase in forward speed is expected for the next couple of days as the hurricane gets picked up by a large mid-latitude trough. Confidence in the track forecast remains fairly high for the first 72 h, although the spread increases after that time. The GFS-based guidance generally then show a more northward track to the west of Ireland then over the far North Atlantic, while the UKMET/ECMWF show a track over Ireland and Great Britain then eastward and dissipating over northern Europe. The forecast is close to the consensus at long range, but some large changes could be required for later forecasts.

While the NHC track keeps the center of Ophelia south and east of the Azores, tropical-storm-force winds are possible throughout the Azores by Saturday night due to an approaching front. In addition, the wind field of Ophelia will likely expand as the cyclone begins extratropical transition, and any deviation to the left of the forecast track could bring stronger winds to the islands. Interests in the Azores should refer to products issued by the Azores Weather Forecast and Watch Center.


1. Ophelia is expected to transition to a hurricane-force post- tropical cyclone by Monday when it moves near Ireland and the United Kingdom. While post-tropical Ophelia will likely bring some direct impacts from wind and heavy rain to portions of these areas, as well as dangerous marine conditions, given the forecast uncertainty at these time ranges it is too soon to determine the exact magnitude, timing and location of the impacts. Residents in Ireland and the United Kingdom should monitor the progress of Ophelia for the next several days. For more information on local impacts, residents of Ireland should refer to products issued by Met Eireann and residents in the United Kingdom should refer to products issued by the Met Office.


Atlantic Ocean

Tropical cyclone 17L (Ophelia)

NHC textual forecast advisory
NHC graphical track map
NOAA satellite image

1.) A strong tropical wave located several hundred miles east of the Lesser Antilles is producing disorganized showers and thunderstorms. Upper-level winds are expected to prevent significant development of this system for the next couple of days as it moves generally west- northwestward to the north of the Leeward Islands. Environmental conditions could become a little more conducive for some development early next week while the system subsequently moves northward over the west-central Atlantic Ocean.

* Formation chance through 48 hours…low…near 0 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days…low…20 percent

NOAA satellite image of the Atlantic

Caribbean Sea

NOAA satellite image of the Caribbean Sea

Gulf of Mexico

Latest satellite image of the Gulf of Mexico


For real-time information on current disasters download PDC’s free Disaster Alert mobile app available for your iOS or Android devices today! Also be sure to monitor PDC on Twitter, Facebook, and by accessing the web-accessible Disaster Alert from your computer, phone, or tablet.