Tropical Storm Ophelia won’t come anywhere near U.S. shores, but when it strengthens to a hurricane sometime Thursday, it will achieve another distinction.
Ophelia will be the 10th straight Atlantic tropical storm to become a hurricane—a milestone last reached in 1893, said Phil Klotzbach, a storm researcher at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. “I am not quite sure what to make of it,” Klotzbach said. “It is a ‘gee-whiz’ record.”
Ophelia is churning 785 miles southwest of the Azores with top winds of 65 miles an hour. It will be a hurricane by the time it grazes Portugal and northern Spain Monday, according to the National Hurricane Center. Ophelia is the 15th storm of a 2017 hurricane season that ranks eighth all-time in terms of accumulated cyclone energy, a measure of storm power and longevity. The Atlantic also produced 10 consecutive hurricanes in 1876 and 1886. The season has been “very active in case people weren’t already convinced of it,” Klotzbach said.