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Ophelia heads towards Atlantic Canada

Ophelia regains strength in the Atlantic, while Hilary downgrades to a tropical storm in the Pacific
Ophelia regains strength in the Atlantic, while Hilary downgrades to a tropical storm in the Pacific

Hilary Hagerman, staff writer

September 29, 2011 — Ophelia regenerates into a tropical storm and could bring heavy rain to Atlantic Canada by the weekend. Hilary downgrades to a tropical storm and Philippe continues to swirl in the Atlantic.

The track expected for Ophelia
The track expected for Ophelia

Ophelia tracks towards Atlantic Canada

Tropical Storm Ophelia continued to fluctuate in strength in the Atlantic Ocean on Sunday. Eventually, forecasters downgraded the storm to a remnant low.

By Tuesday afternoon, Ophelia became a tropical depression once again, and by Wednesday morning had regenerated into a tropical storm.

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.

No coastal watches or warnings have been issued, but forecasters at the U.S. National Hurricane Center (NHC) expect Ophelia to strengthen into a hurricane as it skirts Bermuda on Friday.

The storm is heading in a general northward direction, and is on track to graze Newfoundland by Sunday. At this point, Ophelia will be merging with another low-pressure system over eastern Canada.

“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

On Saturday, Tropical Depression 17 became Tropical Storm Philippe. It is currently well out at sea and poses no immediate threat to land.

Tropical storm Hilary satellite
Tropical storm Hilary satellite

Hilary loses strength in the Pacific

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.

But now, Hilary has downgraded to a tropical storm, and the NHC says it currently poses no threat to land. Hilary is set to downgrade to a tropical depression by Thursday night.

No tropical storm watches or warnings are in place, but large swells are affecting parts of the coast of southwestern Mexico and southern Baja. These swells could cause life threatening surf and rip current conditions.

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

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