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Tropical Storm Ophelia appears as a comma in NASA imagery

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

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IMAGE: This false-colored infrared image from the AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite showed very cold cloud top temperatures (purple) within Tropical Storm Ophelia on Oct. 11 at 0353 UTC (Oct.... view more 

Credit: Credits: NASA JPL/Ed Olsen

Infrared imagery from NASA's Aqua satellite showed powerful thunderstorms around the center of Tropical Storm Ophelia with a band of thunderstorms stretching to the southwest, giving the storm the appearance of a comma.

The Atmospheric Infrared Sounder or AIRS instrument aboard NASA's Aqua satellite looked at Ophelia in infrared light on Oct. 11 at 0353 UTC (Oct. 10 at 11:53 p.m. EDT) , providing temperature data on the storm's clouds. Coldest clouds tops were as cold as or colder than minus 63 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 53 degrees Celsius). Those cold clouds appeared around the center of circulation and in bands extending southwest from the center.

At 11 a.m. EDT/AST (1500 UTC) on Oct. 11 the center of Tropical Storm Ophelia was located near 30.0 degrees north latitude and 36.5 degrees west longitude. That's about 775 miles (1,245 km) southwest of the Azores islands in the northeastern Atlantic Ocean. Ophelia is moving toward the east near 3 mph (6 km/h), and this slow motion is expected to continue today with a gradual turn to the northeast Thursday night. Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph (110 kph) with higher gusts. Some strengthening is forecast and Ophelia is anticipated to become a hurricane at any time today or tomorrow, Oct. 12. The estimated minimum central pressure is 992 millibars.

The 11 a.m. EDT NHC Discussion noted "Ophelia is still expected to become a hurricane at any time within the next 12 hours. Extratropical transition is likely to start between day 3 and day 4, and Ophelia is anticipated to remain a strong cyclone over the northeastern Atlantic."

Ophelia is expected to become extra-tropical and affect Ireland on Monday, Oct. 16.

For updates on Ophelia, visit: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov.

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