Tropical Storm Ophelia is centered near 15.5N/53.7 W, or about 495 miles east-southeast of Guadeloupe. Maximum sustained winds are now near 60 mph with higher wind gusts of up to 75mph. Movement is to the West-Northwest at 15 mph. Ophelia is forecast to move just north of the northern Leeward Islands by this weekend.
Showers and storms have redeveloped over the center this afternoon. Aircraft data indicates that the winds are close to 60 mph. This is believed to be temporary, as shear and dry air continue to affect the system. Therefore, weakening to a depression is still forecast during the next 24 hours. The American model no longer dissipates the system and is similar to the other dynamical models in that it intensifies the system after 72 hours. Therefore, the forecast has a bit more confidence than 6 hours ago that there will be intensification north of the Caribbean.
The center is a bit north of the previous track. However, only very minor changes were needed to the intensity forecast. Once the showers and storms are displaced again by the shear, a slight westward bend is likely to occur. The track still takes the system a little north of the Leeward Islands on Sunday and in the direction of Bermuda by the middle part of next week. There is some uncertainty in the track at the 4-5 day time period. Some models are stalling the system north of the Caribbean.
Squalls are likely to impact the Leeward Islands from Sunday evening into Monday. Most of the squalls should remain to the east of the Virgin Islands, as Ophelia is forecast to be a sheared system with the squalls to the east of the center.
The outermost squalls are expected to impact the Northeast Caribbean Sea by Sunday night and could last through Monday. Forecasters believe that the worst conditions are likely to remain in the Atlantic.
All residents should continue to monitor the progress of Ophelia and make necessary preparations. The Department of Disaster Management will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates when necessary. Please visit the Department of Disaster Management’s website at www.bviddm.com and subscribe to the notification link.
Disclaimer: The Department of Disaster Management (DDM) is not an official Meteorological Office. The Information disseminated by the Department is gathered from a number of professional sources used or contracted by the DDM to provide such information. This information is to be used as a guide by anyone who has interest in local weather conditions. By no means can the DDM or the BVI Government be held accountable by anyone who uses this information appropriately for legal evidence or in justification of any decision which may result in the loss of finances, property or life.