Hurricane Ophelia strengthens to Category 2 storm, NHC says

Hurricane Ophelia strengthens to Category 2 storm, NHC says

Hurricane Ophelia strengthens to Category 2 storm, NHC says

The hurricane center's five-day forecast, which can change, has Ophelia heading close to the British Isles by Monday afternoon.

The storm, which is now a Category 2, was initially not thought to be a land threat, swirling far from the American and European coastlines in the middle of the Atlantic. That's a bit of an unusual track for Atlantic storms.

The latest computer models predict that Northern Ireland and Scotland will bear the full brunt of the storm on Monday but strong winds and heavy rain will also lash northern England.

The Met Office has said the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia will hit the United Kingdom on Monday.

"Environmental conditions could become a little more conductive for some development early next week while the system subsequently moves northward over the west-central Atlantic Ocean".

"Although the track guidance keeps the center offshore of the Azores, a tropical storm watch or warning could be needed for the eastern Azores on Thursday because of the forecasted increase in wind radii in the northwestern quadrant of the cyclone", hurricane center forecasters said Thursday.

Ophelia is centered about 725 miles (1,165 kilometers) southwest of the Azores and is moving northeast near 3 mph (6 kph).

Experts at the U.S. Hurricane Centre confirmed gusts of 100mph are now emanating from the centre of the hurricane.

Met Office and Channel 5 forecaster Chris Page said Hurricane Ophelia has been upgraded to a Category 2 hurricane.

"Maximum sustained winds are near 100 miles per hour (155 km/h) with higher gusts - a category 2 hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale".

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