Tropical Ophelia Could Head Our Way

Fig 1.1 – NOAA NHC guidance issued for tropical storm Ophelia to become a hurricane and eventually track North East closer to the UK

Fig 1.2 – ECMWF HRES 0.2 degree guidance showing ensemble members forecast for the track and intensity of Ophelia in the next 10 days. White conus has been annotated to denote the divergence in the member spread with time, highlighting uncertainty.











Tropical storm Ophelia is currently a strengthening tropical storm located at 37o°W, 33°N in the Southern North Atlantic on the southern portion of the sub tropical ridge.  In the next few days tropical storm Ophelia is expected to strengthen into a minor category one hurricane and make slow progress south before turning to the east and eventually more to the north east, please see Fig 1.1 guidance issued by NOAA at the National Hurricane Centre in the US.

The big news is that Ophelia is forecast to turn more to the right and track toward the Bay of Biscay bringing the risk of strong winds and heavy rainfall to anywhere from Iberia, Western France or even Ireland or the United Kingdom.

The probability of Ophelia making landfall as an extra tropical system is plausible but at this early stage rather on the low side.  ECMWF, a highly regarded European weather model is currently forecasting for Ophelia to make the turn to the north taking the tropical system toward Biscay in approximately 4-5 days time.  Ensembles used to assess the probability of a given weather event indicate significant uncertainty with spread in the ensemble members producing outcomes ranging from a Iberia landfall to a more Westerly Ireland and UK one.

There remain inherent uncertainties in the forecast however Ophelia will continue to be monitored with further updates being provided in the coming days.  The advice for now would be to keep tuned to the forecast and be aware of the possibility of adverse or severe weather conditions in 6-8 days time for around the 16th – 19th October period.  Similar to Lee who interacted with the jet stream and bought a period of gales and heavy rain to many parts of the UK last week, Ophelia will have the potential to deliver similar or more significant impacts.

Further updates to follow.

Copyright Weather Scientifc 2018

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