Ophelia strengthened into a hurricane Wednesday afternoon. Ophelia is the tenth named storm in a row to become a hurricane, which ties a record. The last time a streak like this occurred was in 1893.
It’s important to note that weather records are based on what we’re able to record. Before satellites, it was difficult to keep accurate records of Atlantic hurricanes. It is possible that this has happened since 1893, but we didn’t have the technology to see it.
Ophelia is not a threat to US land, but is raising a few concerns in western Europe. Ophelia is currently tracking towards Portugal, and will likely pass to the west of the country. Then Ophelia will curve north towards Ireland’s west coast as a post-tropical storm. Ireland regularly deals with the remnants of tropical systems, but Ophelia is going to approach the island as a stronger system than the usual remnant lows.
For Portugal, this is even more unusual. Ophelia is set to brush past the Azores, the archipelago off the coast of Portugal. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851.
Other notable facts about Ophelia
Per Colorado State University hurricane researcher Philip Klotzbach, Ophelia is the strongest tropical cyclone (a term that includes depressions, storms and hurricanes) that has been as far east in the Atlantic in the month of October since Tropical Storm Grace in 2009.
With Ophelia officially the 10th hurricane of the year in the Atlantic basin, the 2017 Atlantic Hurricane season now has the second most hurricanes on record through October 11 (it is tied with previous years 1886, 1893, 1933 and 1995, which also had 10 hurricanes through October 11).
The season with the most hurricanes through mid-October is 2005, when a total of 12 hurricanes had formed by October 11, per Klotzbach.