Ophelia strengthens into a Category 3 hurricane
Ophelia became the 4th hurricane of the 2011 Atlantic season on Thursday. Early Friday it strengthened to a Category 2 storm, and by late Friday morning, Ophelia quickly became a major hurricane with sustained winds of 185 km/h.
Ophelia caused flooding and cut off access to some communities on the Caribbean island of Dominica. About 1,600 people were stranded on the island, and nearly a dozen cars have washed away.
The U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) expects Ophelia to hit Bermuda by Saturday. The storm could bring up to 50 mm of rain, as well as strong winds and hazardous surf conditions.
The storm is heading in a general northward direction, and is on track to skim Atlantic Canada on the weekend. Ophelia will near Nova Scotia on Sunday, probably as a Category 1 hurricane. By Sunday night, it's expected to graze Newfoundland.
At this point, Ophelia will be merging with another low-pressure system over eastern Canada. This means heavy rains and strong winds.
“The biggest concern is the potential for very heavy rains in Atlantic Canada,” said Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network. He noted that some areas could see up to 50 mm of rain. “Rainfall warnings will most likely be issued this weekend and into Monday.”
Philippe stays far away from land
Last Saturday, Tropical Depression 17 became Tropical Storm Philippe. It is currently well out at sea and poses no immediate threat to land.
Hilary downgrades to tropical depression
Hilary formed into a tropical storm last week and shortly after strengthened into a major hurricane.
“Within only 24 hours, Hilary went from a tropical storm to a Category 4 hurricane,” said Davis.
By Thursday, Hilary was downgraded to a tropical storm, and by Friday morning, the storm was a tropical depression. It currently poses no threat to land.
The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted a busy hurricane season for the Atlantic this year. According to the updated seasonal outlook, between 14 and 19 storms are possible, with up to 10 of them gaining hurricane status.
Meanwhile, Mexico's weather commission predicted 14 named storms for the Pacific.
Visit The Weather Network's Tropical Storm Centre for any updates on the 2011 hurricane season.
With files from Lyndsay Morrison and Andrea Stockton