September 21, 2011

Tropical Storm Ophelia Pushing West

Tropical Storm Ophelia is continuing to push westward around 13 mph early on Wednesday morning and is still approximately 1,370 miles east of the Leeward Islands. While still rather unorganized, showers and thunderstorms are very numerous with this system.

Persistent shear aloft will prevent the system from strengthening before it eventually makes it into the Leeward Islands. While shear is in place, it will not be strong enough to tear the storm apart.

Ophelia will likely remain a tropical storm throughout its track through the Atlantic, and at times, may strengthen briefly.

Computer models forecast Ophelia to track north of Hispaniola early next week, then tracking east of the Bahamas. Eventually, models show Ophelia tracking near Bermuda during the middle of next week.

Nonetheless, heavy flooding rain and gusty winds will affect parts of the Lesser Antilles by the weekend.

Timing is still a bit uncertain as the system hasn't progressed all that much in the last few hours. Interests in the Caribbean, especially the Lesser Antilles, Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico should pay close attention to the progression of Tropical Storm Ophelia in the coming days.

In the meantime, no models at this current time suggest a threat to the mainland of the United States, so the only real affect Ophelia will have is higher-than-average surf along the East Coast.

Elsewhere in the Atlantic, there is an area of low pressure still pushing west, about 230 miles east of the Leeward Islands.

Despite the shear, this low is producing some showers and thunderstorms while remaining somewhat organized. This low will likely push through the Leeward Islands today and tonight.

The rest of the Atlantic Basin remains quiet for the time being with no other organized systems.

By Meteorologist Don Pillittere

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