Sep 29, 2011

DAY 120

Ophelia in now back up to tropical storm strength and still climbing. She is up to 60 mph sustained with a pressure of 995 mb. She is just to the northeast of the Leeward Antilles and is still slowly moving northwest at 6 mph. Ophelia's west side is open still due to some 20 knot wind shear coming in from that direction.

(Tropical Storm Ophelia)
Ophelia is expected to become a hurricane late tomorrow night or Friday morning, as she begins to turn more north and head towards Bermuda. She will likely be impacting Bermuda on Saturday as a hurricane. Wind shear will probably keep Ophelia at Cat 1 strength but a brief run a Cat 2 is possible.

Tropical Storm Philippe is struggling with some wind shear and dry air. Earlier today, some upper level dry air caused the rapid collapse of some of Philippe's thunderstorms which created the arc clouds visible on his west side. Otherwise Philippe had some pulses of strength throughout the day, and is just maintaining as a weak tropical storm.

(Arc Clouds from Tropical Storm Philippe)
The environment around Philippe will probably keep him from gaining hurricane strength this week. He is basically getting trapped underneath high pressure to the north, and will move westward for a few days and then probably turn around and head back to the east. The GFS actually takes Philippe all the way to the Bahamas before turning him around. The NHC forecast is for Philippe to remain a tropical storm for 3 more days, which is a bit optimistic given the atmospheric conditions and cooler ocean temperatures. Some of the forecast models however, do show some possibility of further strengthening.

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