While fall is just beginning for much of the Maritimes, it’s easy to forget that we are in the peak of hurricane season, with two active tropical disturbances currently churning in the Atlantic; one of which may impact Eastern Canada by early next week.
Ophelia, which a few days ago weakened and lost her tropical characteristics, has strengthened back into a tropical depression. A depression means the system has sustained winds of 52 to 61 km/h. According to the United States National Hurricane Center, Ophelia was located 380 km east of the Leeward Island, moving north at a snail’s pace of 6 km/h. Ophelia is expected to further strengthen to a tropical storm today, and by Friday strengthen to a Hurricane… the 4th one of the 2011 hurricane season. Right now the official NHC forecast has it becoming a Category 1 (119-153 km/h) Hurricane on the Saffir-Simpson Scale, some hurricane research weather models (GFDL/HWRF) are indicating Ophelia to strengthen briefly to Category 2 status, with winds in the 154-177 km/h range.
The current trajectory of Ophelia has it heading into Atlantic Canada waters late Sunday evening. While there is a bit of disagreement with the placement of Ophelia at this time, weather forecast models are indicating the possibility of another land falling tropical system anywhere from Newfoundland to Nova Scotia, Monday morning October 3rd. Strong and violent seas, coastal flooding, rain, and strong winds can be expected if this system makes landfall across Atlantic Canada. Just exactly how strong Ophelia is when she comes toward the Maritimes is still up in the air, but regardless of strength she is poised to make another hit into eastern Canada Monday. Residents from New Brunswick to Newfoundland are advised to monitor the developing situation this week as forecasters gain more data on the tropical cyclone.
Elsewhere in the tropics, Tropical Storm Philippe is barely alive with winds around 65 km/ h, 1390 km west of the Cape Verde Islands this morning. Philippe is expected to weaken to a depression today, eventually moving east and fall apart by Saturday. It will have more of a marine impact as it is forecasted to veer away from any islands or land masses for the next 5 days or so.
The latest National Hurricane Center forecast can be viewed here: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/graphics_at1.shtml?5-daynl#contents
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