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Ophelia strengthens in the Atlantic, thankfully no threat to land

NEW ORLEANS – Tropical Storm Ophelia continued to strengthen Tuesday as maximum sustained winds reached 50 mph.

Opehila is in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, about 800 miles west-southwest of the Azores. Atmospheric steering currents are weak in the area, so Ophelia is expected to meander a bit before getting picked up and moving quickly off to the west.

While Ophelia is a tropical storm now, it is forecast to become a hurricane by Thursday. This would make Ophelia the tenth storm in a row in the Atlantic Basin to become a hurricane, a record for the modern satellite era. The trend started back on August 9, when Hurricane Franklin first attained hurricane force winds in the Bay of Campeche before moving onshore into Central Mexico.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin is very quiet at the moment and should stay that way for the short term. High levels of upper level wind shear extend westwards from Florida to the Windward Islands and will inhibit development for the next several days.