11:00 PM AST Fri Sep 30
Location: 26.2°N 63.1°W
Max sustained: 120 mph
Moving: N at 17 mph
Min pressure: 956 mb
Tropical Storm Ophelia has quickly exploded to Major Hurricane Strength, now being a category 3 with sustained winds at 120 mph. It is quite amazing what wind shear can do to a tropical system. This cyclones life, until about 72 hours ago, was encountering some strong upper level wind shear that was preventing this system from developing. At one point, it weakened to a depression with the National Hurricane Center giving it one a 10% chance of the system developing back again. Just as the cyclone weakened, upper level wind shear began to weaken and the depression quickly reorganized into a tropical storm again. About 24 hours ago, the National Hurricane Center had most computer models increasing the storm to a category 1 hurricane. Apparently the upper level wind shear was still weak and other atmospheric conditions suggested the hurricane to continue to grow and that is exactly what happened. It quickly exploded to category 3 strength. Currently the closest piece of land near its track is Bermuda. The island is currently under a tropical storm watch. The hurricane is not expected to weaken much but is expected to track east of the island meaning that the left bands of the system will cross over Bermuda. That part is where the weaker winds are located thus why only a tropical storm watch has been issued and not a hurricane watch. Bermuda is outlined in yellow which signifies the tropical storm watch. So far no watches has been posted for parts of Canada, however that may change in the next day or two as Ophelia gets closer. The system will begin to weaken after passing Bermuda as it enters cooler waters and then turn to the east over the far northern Atlantic Ocean.
(TheWeatherSpace.com) — A wide tropical wave, or Invest 93, is moving across the Central Atlantic will head westward toward the Leeward Islands by the middle of next week.
As of now the system looks favorable for additional development over the next several days and it should be a slow developing system at that.
The system is riding pretty far South which would naturally put it South of Puerto Rico but since it is so far away my forecast “cone of uncertainty” will remain wide, covering Puerto Rico.
The ridge will migrate westward with the system which is leading me to believe this system will actually keep moving due west toward the Leeward/Windward Islands.
Should this forecast be correct we may have a threat into the Gulf Of Mexico within a week and all eyes should remain on this system.
The system is not a threat at the time to the United States being how far away it is and we have plenty of time to forecast the track. Now it is not to say that down the line it will not be a dangerous storm because it very well could be.
The arrows in the map above show the direction the underlying Caribbean tectonic plates are moving, with the resultant build-up of pressure releasing into a myrid of earthquakes in the region over the years. Puerto Rico is the smaller green island in the middle, with the Dominican Republic the larger island to the left. The string of other Caribbean islands is buried under the earthquake markers that flow down the page to the lower right.
You can see the Puerto Rico Trench wraps around the entire zone.
A few little known facts came to the fore as I was researching this area after spotting the recent increase in seismic activity in the Caribbean region.
1. The Puerto Rico Trench is the biggest and deepest such trench in the entire Atlantic ocean.
2. This trench is capable of producing 8.0 earthquakes and above.
3. The risk of a major quake, underwater landslide and mega tsunami are as great as that of the Seattle area. In fact, one recent risk assessment put it at 35 to 55%!
4. The zone hasn’t ruptured in over 200 years and that has geologists seriously concerned.