Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.
By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 9:12 PM GMT on September 07, 2005
Long range radar out of Melbourne this afternoon showed a significant improvement in the organization of Ophelia, and the pressure fell modestly from 999 mb to 996 mb. However, the winds have are still at 50 mph, and Ophelia has not intensified quite as fast as the improved radar presentation would suggest. Upper-level winds over the south side of the system relaxed to the 5 - 10 knot range this morning, but have increased again to about 10 knots. These winds are causing shearing on the south side of Ophelia, and so there is little deep convection there. Ophelia is over warm 29 - 30C water, and no significant increase in the shear is forecast the next 36 hours. This should allow Ophelia to approach hurricane strength by tomorrow night or Friday morning.
I have no additional speculations on her future track. Steering currents are very weak, and there will certainly be plenty of time to speculate on her long-range track the next five days while she wanders within 100 miles of her current location. I don't think Ophelia's winds are strong enough yet to stir up enough cold water and cause weakening. Hurricanes need water of at least 26C to maintain their intensity, and water this warm exists down to a depth of 75 meters over the waters east of Cape Canaveral. Winds of tropical storm force are not strong enough to churn up water from deeper than 75 meters.
Figure 1. Depth in meters of where 26C water can be found.
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