- (Photo: Courtesy of NOAA-Reuters Handout)
Tropical Storm Ophelia has formed in the Atlantic Ocean, and forecasters expect it to strengthen over the next few days.
Hurricane experts reported Wednesday morning that Ophelia now has maximum sustained winds near 45 mph and is moving west at 13 mph.
It is the newest tropical storm to form in the Pacific south of Mexico. Forecasters expect Ophelia to continue moving west and to increase its speed over the next 24 to 48 hours.
Weather experts say both the Atlantic and the eastern Pacific oceans came alive tropically today with the formation of Ophelia and Tropical Depression Nine-E.
“Ophelia will have a tough time intensifying, the warm waters of the eastern Pacific and a lack of wind shear should allow Nine-E to strengthen into a tropical storm and then a hurricane through Friday,” according to the National Hurricane Center.
The next tropical storm in the eastern Pacific will acquire the name "Hilary."
According to the AccuWeather.com Hurricane Center, Nine-E is expected to move out to sea this weekend.
However, according to Expert Senior Meteorologist Alex Sosnowski, a trough of low pressure in the northern Pacific will move closer to the West Coast of North America next week.
"Depending on how far south and east that trough progresses will determine if the system boomerangs back to the east, closer to the coast of Mexico later next week," Sosnowski said.
However, the system may pass close enough to graze Mexico's southern coast, including Acapulco, with gusty and drenching bands of rain later this week.
Surfers and swimmers are warned to watch for extremely rough waters.
As of 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, Ophelia’s location was tracking at 12.7 deg; N 41.8 deg; W.