Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has begun advisories on Tropical Storm Ophelia located in the central Atlantic, about 1585 miles east of the Northern Leeward Islands. Maximum winds are about 40 mph and the system is moving west near 10 mph. The slow movement of Ophelia has been the catalyst for the contraction of the broad are of low pressure into a better low level circulation center. The storm is experiencing some westerly shear which will help keep intensification to a minimum if it persist. The model guidance is not very bullish on Ophelia and keeps the system as a tropical storm throughout it life cycle. The following graphic is the latest forecast track for Ophelia from NHC.

Although the model guidance and phase diagrams are keeping a cap on the intensity forecast, it is early in the forecast cycle. The early runs on a system may have some fluctuations in both track and intensity. I would not jump on any changes to the forecast during the next 24 hours they are remarkably different. The initial runs that have a true center fix and a good circulation to work with will be in the morning and even then it takes a few runs to get the runs settled in to a consistent forecast.

When they become available I will update with the latest model dissemination and a new discussion. My thinking is that Ophelia has definitely become a tropical storm, the Dvorak classifications are good and the storm actually looks pretty decent. The loop is much better.

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