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Tropical Storm Ophelia Could be Reborn in Coming Days

Satellites are seeing signs of the remnants from Storm Ophelia over the Atlantic Ocean even though the storm weakened below tropical storm status Sunday.

Ophelia was the Atlantic’s 15th named storm of 2011, and its remnants are producing a huge area of heavy rains and thunderstorms. The storm region is currently sitting a couple of hundred miles east-northeast of the Northern Leeward Islands Wednesday morning.

According to the National Hurricane Center, the low will continue moving slowly to the northwest. There is an 80 percent chance that Ophelia will be reborn.

During a tropical cyclone development, the two main factors that meteorologists take into account are temperature of cloud heights and sea surface temperatures – both of which are taken by NASA infrared satellite imagery.

NASA’s Aqua satellite has an instrument called the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder (AIRS), which shows that warm temperatures exist today east of Northern Antilles where Ophelia’s remnants are located.

AIRS data reveals the frigid temperatures and physically powerful thunderstorms are located west and south of the center of the low-pressure area’s circulation. The main indicator of this is the cloud top temperatures which have been recorded as colder than minus 63 F (minus 52 C) indicating they were high, strong thunderstorms.

According to satellite images, the low appears to have a large circulation.

As the National Hurricane center expected, Ophelia’s wind shear has died down and the storm is no longer being battered, as it was the past couple of days.

The 2011 storm season was predicted to be an active one.

Ophelia is followed by number 16, Tropical Storm Phillipe. So far there have been 16 named storms, three hurricanes (Irene, Katia and Maria) and two major hurricanes (Irene and Katia).

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