Ophelia became the season’s 10th hurricane Wednesday and had whipped up sustained winds of 85 mph Thursday morning. The National Hurricane Center said it would remain a powerful storm as it moves toward the northeast, but it’s expected to become extra-tropical by late Saturday. It could impact the Azores this weekend and may bring high winds to western Ireland next week. (Credit: NHC/ NWS-Key West)
Is the hurricane season finally winding down?
Hurricane Ophelia was still strengthening in the northeastern Atlantic Thursday, but its days as a tropical entity are numbered, with the National Hurricane Center predicting it will become extra-tropical over the weekend.
Forecast models show little or nothing forming over the next week to 10 days, which would put us close to the end of October.
“Although most of the tropical Atlantic remains unusually warm for mid-October, we may see a drop-off in tropical cyclone activity over the next couple of weeks, as the Madden-Julian Oscillation is predicted to enter a phase unfavorable for tropical development in the Atlantic,” Weather Underground’s Bob Henson said in a blog post Tuesday.
Based on averages from 1966-2009, two more named storms could occur, with one of them being a hurricane. The last storm forms, on average, on November 23, according to the National Hurricane Center’s climatology report.
That would bring us up to Philippe and Rina and give the Atlantic 17 named storms for the year, about five above average. That was the top end of NOAA’s pre-season forecast in May.
However, through Tuesday, the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season had produced 210 ACE (Accumulated Cyclone Energy) units, behind only 1933, 2004 and 1893, Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach said on Twitter.
“Ophelia is 10th consecutive Atlantic named storm to reach hurricane — tying the all-time record set in 1878 and equaled in 1886 & 1893,” he tweeted.
RECORD WATCH: The low in West Palm Beach Wednesday was 80, tying a record warm low for the date set in 1972. It was 79 in Melbourne, easily busting the old record warm low of 76 set in 1990.
RAINFALL FORECAST: Showers and thunderstorms were already moving into the Florida peninsula from the Atlantic early Thursday. NOAA’s Weather Prediction Center shows about 2-and-a-half inches of rain falling on Florida’s East Coast through Tuesday, from around Vero Beach all the way down to the Keys. (Image credit: NWS-Miami)