As was expected by the National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ophelia was upgraded to a hurricane overnight. While it is currently quasi stationary southeast of the Azores, there is an increasing agreement among the major weather models that the storm will hit Ireland early next week. There is some disagreement about the exact time that the storm will reach Ireland, but it seems highly likely that from Monday onward, storm force winds should be expected across the south of Ireland. It is likely that those winds will stay throughout most of Monday, before weakening on Tuesday morning. The exact strength of the winds is still up for debate, but from what I’m seeing in the weather models, we’re looking at sustained Force 8-10 winds for most of Monday and part of Tuesday morning. The good news is that rainfall won’t be as strong as originally expected, but I’ll wait for the Friday model runs before making a detailed call on that.
One thing that I want to take the opportunity to address in this post is the whole nomenclature debate, whether it will actually be a hurricane or not. Since hurricane is the term used to describe a tropical cyclone in the Atlantic, Ophelia will be an extratropical cyclone when it reaches Ireland. So yes, it is true that we will not be getting a hurricane. However, for all intents and purposes, it will feel like one, given the expected windspeeds, so I can expect why in everyday conversation, people will refer to it as a hurricane. Still, it is advisable to take the screaming headlines of most tabloids with a pinch of salt.
I will post another update tomorrow, following my regular weather forecast. The situation is still pretty fluent, and there is yet a chance that Ophelia might miss Ireland entirely.