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Hurricane Ophelia Intensifies Rapidly on Course East of Bermuda

Friday, 30 Sep 2011 07:09 AM

Ophelia strengthened “rapidly” over the Atlantic on a track that’s predicted to take the hurricane east of Bermuda tomorrow before hitting Newfoundland on Oct. 3, the National Hurricane Center said.

Ophelia grew into the fourth hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season yesterday, and intensified today to winds of 100 miles (160 kilometers) per hour, a Category 2 storm on the 5-step Saffir Simpson scale, the NHC said.

The system was 695 miles south-southeast of Bermuda, which is under a tropical storm watch, and moving north-northwest at 9 mph, the NHC said in a 5 a.m. Miami time advisory. Hurricane- force winds of at least 74 mph stretch 30 miles from Ophelia’s eye, and tropical storm-force winds of at least 39 mph extend 175 miles outwards, the center said.

“Tropical-storm-force winds are possible on Bermuda starting Saturday afternoon,” it said. “Large swells created by Ophelia will cause hazardous surf conditions along the south shore beaches of Bermuda.”

On the forecast path, Ophelia may strike eastern Newfoundland on Oct. 3, then head eastward into the North Atlantic, the NHC said.

Ophelia is one of 16 storms that have formed in the Atlantic this year, an above-average season statistically. The Atlantic season, which lasts from June through November, normally produces 11 named storms with winds of at least 39 mph, according to the hurricane center.

Tropical Storm Philippe, in the mid-Atlantic east of Ophelia, has 45 mph winds and is moving northwest at 13 mph, the center said. It presents no threat to land for at least the next five days under the forecast NHC path.

Hilary weakened today from a tropical storm to a tropical depression about 735 miles west of the southern tip of Baja California off Mexico and is expected to become a remnant low later in the day, the NHC also said in its latest advisory.


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