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WEATHER - New Hurricane to Take Shape along Mexico's Coast

Ophelia Becomes Tropical Storm
September 28, 2011, 5:26 PM EDT
By Brian K. Sullivan and Alex Morales|
Source: Bloomberg

Ophelia regained tropical storm status and is forecast to reach hurricane strength on a track that may take it east of Bermuda this weekend, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center.

Ophelia’s winds are 50 miles (80 kilometers) per hour, up from 35 mph earlier today, according to an advisory at 5 p.m. New York time. The system is about 180 miles east-northeast of the northern Leeward Islands, moving north-northwest at 7 mph.

“Gradual strengthening is expected during the next couple of days,” the center said.

The storm’s top winds are forecast to reach 75 mph in three days, which would make it a Category 1 hurricane on the five- step Saffir-Simpson scale, according to the center. Ophelia became a tropical storm in the Atlantic Sept. 20 and weakened to a remnant low over the weekend before regaining strength.

In addition to Ophelia, forecasters are monitoring Tropical Storm Philippe, which is about 1,040 miles west of Cape Verde with 40-mph winds. Once its winds drop below 39 mph, it will become a tropical depression.

In the Pacific, Hurricane Hilary may drop to tropical storm status overnight and dissipate by the end of the week, the center said. The storm is 640 miles west-southwest of Baja California with winds of 80 mph and is moving at 8 mph.

“Surf, swells generated by Hilary are affecting portions of the coast of southern Baja California,” the hurricane center said. “These swells are likely causing life-threatening surf and rip current conditions.”

--With assistance from Yee Kai Pin in Singapore. Editors: Charlotte Porter, Bill Banker

To contact the reporters on this story: Brian K. Sullivan in Boston at; Alex Morales in London at

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Dan Stets at; Reed Landberg at

By Kristina Pydynowski, Senior Meteorologist
Sep 21, 2011; 7:24 PM ET

Unlike newly-formed Tropical Storm Ophelia, Tropical Storm Hilary just offshore of Mexico is expected to gain hurricane strength and pose a greater danger to land in the upcoming days.
Both the Atlantic and the eastern Pacific oceans came alive tropically Wednesday night with the formation of Ophelia and Tropical Depression Nine-E, which strengthened into Tropical Storm HilaryWednesday morning.
Ophelia developed over the open waters of the central Atlantic, halfway between the western coast of Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Nine-E took shape much closer to land, less than 200 miles south of Mexico's southern coast.
While Ophelia will have a tough time intensifying, the warm waters of the eastern Pacific and a lack of wind shear (strong winds high in the atmosphere) should allow HIlary to strengthen into a hurricane through Friday.
According to the Hurricane Center, Hilary is expected to move out to sea this weekend.
However, according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, a trough of low pressure in the northern Pacific will move closer to the west coast of North America next week.
"Depending on how far south and east that trough progresses will determine if the system boomerangs back to the east, closer to the coast of Mexico later next week," Sosnowski said.
However, the system may pass close enough to graze Mexico's southern coast, including Acapulco, with gusty and drenching bands of rain later this week.
Surf along the coast will also turn extremely rough and dangerous for swimmers.

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