Tropical Storm Ophelia overnight intensified slightly to 65 MPH. The intensity was basically due to a reporting NOAA Buoy 41041 that had peak (one minute) sustained winds of 54 knots and a gust of 68 knots. Whether this is indicative of a trend or not, it is still impressive how tenacious some the storms this season has been so far. Strong 25-35 knots of southwesterly shear along with some dry air that is wrapping around the outer core continues to keep the convection well east and northeast of the center of circulation. The center of circulation again is visible from satellite presentation due to the strong shear will be present for the next 36-48 hours.
Assuming Ophelia can continue tropical storm status, most of the global models are in agreement of an upper level trough later in the forecast period that might weaken the ridge slightly which might allow the environment for Ophelia to a bit more conducive and allow some strengthening. For me, I am not convinced that strengthening will occur even with the weakening of the ridge, at least not in the short term.
Guidance is in good agreement for Ophelia to begin the turn west-northwest, probably tomorrow afternoon or sooner, and the turn to the northwest sometime late Sunday. Ophelia will be near the southwestern edge of the subtropical ridge and the turn to the north is forecast sometime early next week. Intensity is always difficult to determine, but I do not believe Ophelia will make hurricane status.
Elsewhere in the tropics, at the moment there is nothing to report about but there is the possibility of development later on in the Western Caribbean and the southern GOM. The MJO has continued to forecast that the strong upward motion and the environment in those areas will be conducive for some type of development sometime in the first week of October. The GFS and Euro models have been off and on for any development so we will just have to see…