NASA eyes the Development of Tropical Storm Ophelia
Tropical Storm Ophelia developed on Oct. 9 around 5 a.m. EDT as the seventeenth, tropical depression of the Atlantic Ocean hurricane season. It formed in the Central Atlantic Ocean about 875 miles (1,405 km) west-southwest of the Azores islands. NASA's Terra satellite provided forecasters with a visible image of the storm as it strengthened into a tropical storm.
NASA's Terra satellite passed over Ophelia when it was still a depression at 9:35 a.m. EDT (1335 UTC). But the image provided by the MODIS instrument, or Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer that flies aboard Terra, showed that there were strong thunderstorms around the center of circulation and in a thick band east of the center.
National Hurricane Center (NHC) forecaster Stewart noted on Oct. 10 at 1:44 p.m. EDT "Convective banding has continued to become better defined since the previous advisory, and an eye-like feature has developed in the center of the convection. However, despite the much improved satellite appearance, it appears that the increased convective organization has not yet translated into an increase in the surface winds based on a 1204Z ASCAT-B overpass, which only showed winds of 30-31 knots in the southern quadrant."
At 11 a.m. EST (1500 UTC), the center of Tropical Storm Ophelia was located near latitude 31.5 North, longitude 38.3 West. Ophelia is moving toward the southeast near 5 mph (7 kph), and this general motion is expected to continue during the next day or two. The estimated minimum central pressure is 1002 millibars.
Maximum sustained winds are near 50 mph (85 km/h) with higher gusts. Gradual strengthening is forecast during the next 48 hours, and Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane by Thursday, Oct. 12 and is expected to turn toward the northwest.
For forecast updates on Ophelia, visit the NHC website: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov