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Fri Oct 13, 2017, 11:50 AM

Hurricane Ophelia: What a Tropical Storm is Doing in Europe

Source: Newsweek

HURRICANE OPHELIA: WHAT A TROPICAL STORM IS DOING IN EUROPE

BY MEGHAN BARTELS ON 10/13/17 AT 9:50 AM

Hurricane Ophelia, now a Category 2 storm, is the 10th hurricane in this Atlantic storm season. But rather than follow the pack and travel first west, then north, then northeast, circling the Atlantic one way or another, Ophelia is going its own way. First it meandered westward, then this week turned northwest.

Currently, early forecasts suggest it will approach Ireland on Monday—not making landfall as a hurricane per se, but packing hurricane-strength winds. (These are very early forecasts with lots of potential to change over the intervening days, as both the Irish and British weather agencies note.)

Ophelia's destination isn't unprecedented, but the storm is still raising eyebrows, says Reindert Haarsma, a climate scientist at the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute. "A number of [tropical storms] reach Europe, but usually they are weak systems," he told Newsweek. "That they reach Europe with this strength, near hurricane force, is quite unusual."

Whether or not Ophelia is carrying hurricane-force winds, it won't actually be a hurricane by about Sunday morning. That's because a hurricane is built around a core of warm, moist air. Spend too long over cooler water from, say, traveling north, and a storm has two potential fates—either it falls to pieces or it undergoes what's called an "extratropical transition," a meteorological metamorphosis.

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Read more: http://www.newsweek.com/hurricane-ophelia-what-tropical-storm-doing-europe-683647


The forecast for Hurricane Ophelia, as of Friday morning.
NATIONAL HURRICANE CENTER

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