OPHELIA BECOMES A RARE CATEGORY 3 HURRICANE SOUTH OF THE AZORES -THIS IS THE SIXTH MAJOR HURRICANE OF THE 2017 SEASON

Hurricane Ophelia is centered as of 11 a.m. AST about 220 miles (355 km) south of the Azores. On the forecast track, the core of Ophelia will pass to the south and southeast of the southeastern Azores by tonight. Tropical-storm-force winds are possible throughout the Azores beginning this afternoon or tonight, primarily due to an approaching cold front. Ophelia is expected to produce total rain accumulations of 1 to 3 inches over the central and southeastern Azores through Saturday night.

Satellite data indicate that the maximum sustained winds have increased near 115 mph (185 km/h) with higher gusts – a category 3 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale. Ophelia is a quite intense and rare hurricane for its location in the northeastern Atlantic. Increasing shear and cold waters will soon begin to impact Ophelia, and the hurricane should begin to acquire extratropical characteristics in about 36 hours or sooner. Although some weakening is anticipated, Ophelia is expected to reach Ireland and the United Kingdom on Monday as a powerful extratropical cyclone with hurricane-force winds.

Direct impacts from wind and heavy rain in portions of these areas are likely, along with dangerous marine conditions. For more details on the magnitude, timing, and location of impacts from post-tropical Ophelia, residents in Ireland should refer to products issued by Met Eireann, https://www.met.ie/ and residents in the United Kingdom should refer to products issued by the Met Office – https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/