Tropical Storm Ophelia close to becoming a hurricane

Hurricane Ophelia path track map

NOAAHurricane Ophelia's path will see the storm head to Portugal

Storms become hurricanes when they reach 74 miles per hour.

Enter Ophelia, the 10th hurricane of the hyperactive 2017 Atlantic season, which could be headed toward Ireland in about five days.

Ophelia is expected to slow down and turn toward to the east-northeast by Thursday night or Friday, according to the hurricane center's forecast.

If Ophelia becomes a hurricane it will be the ninth so far this year in the Atlantic.

This would tie the record for the most consecutive Atlantic named storms to reach hurricane strength.

Tropical Storm Ophelia looked like a hurricane but wasn't one quite yet, the National Hurricane Center said Wednesday morning. It is possible that this has happened since 1893, but we didn't have the technology to see it.

As of 5 a.m. EDT, Ophelia, which isn't now a threat to any land, was centered about 785 miles (1,265 kilometers) southwest of the Azores and moving southeast near 6 mph (9 kph).

While Ophelia may lose the technical aspects that make it a hurricane, it could still pack a punch.

The other disclaimer about tropical cyclones before satellites were routinely used to examine the entire tropical Atlantic Basin in 1966 is that some tropical storms - even hurricanes - may have been missed that could have influenced any streaks, especially in the 19th century. Ophelia is now tracking towards Portugal, and will likely pass to the west of the country.

Ophelia is forecast to track northeast through Monday. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851.

Ophelia has been upgraded from a tropical storm to a hurricane.

This could bring a blast of high winds to the Emerald Isle, particularly the western half of Ireland early next week.

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