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NASA eyes the Development of Tropical Storm Ophelia

12 October 2017

Tropical Storm Ophelia looked like a hurricane but wasn't one quite yet, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday morning.

It now has maximum sustained winds of 50mph, but will reach at least 74mph as it approaches western Europe. It is now forecast to stay west of Portugal before bringing gusty winds and rain to Ireland early next week. It's still early, though, and the exact path could change.

Ophelia becomes the 10th consecutive Atlantic named storm to attain hurricane strength, Klotzbach tweeted, tying the record set in 1878 hurricane season and matched in 1886 and 1893.

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Forecasters say Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday.

The storm is centered about 790 miles (1,270 kilometers) west-southwest of the Azores and is moving southeast near 3 mph (6 kph).

The NOAA said in its latest update: "Ophelia is moving southeastward or 140/5 kt".

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The storm formed well outside what meteorologists refer as the "main development region", where most hurricanes form in the Atlantic.

Forecasters expect Ophelia to continue to slowly move on a northeast track before accelerating toward Europe. The official forecast for Ophelia calls for the hurricane to peak at 85 miles per hour Thursday and Friday.

It then made landfall in Mississippi, USA, which was fortunately spared any fatalities or injuries.

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NASA eyes the Development of Tropical Storm Ophelia