Tropical Strom Ophelia swirls toward Caribbean

Reuters News
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Posted: Sep 24, 2011 12:03 PM
Tropical Strom Ophelia swirls toward Caribbean

MIAMI (Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ophelia swirled across the open Atlantic toward the Caribbean on Saturday on a path likely to take it well off the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, U.S. forecasters said.

Ophelia, the 15th named storm of the 2011 Atlantic hurricane season, is expected to weaken slightly over the next 48 hours, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

The storm is moving toward the northwest and computer models forecast it staying out over the Atlantic Ocean.

On its current track, Ophelia poses no threat to the U.S. coast or energy interests in the Gulf of Mexico.

At 11 a.m. EDT, Ophelia was 385 miles east of the Caribbean's Leeward Islands and had top sustained winds of 50 miles per hour.

A tropical depression just below tropical storm strength was also moving in the far eastern Atlantic, the NHC said.

If it reached tropical storm status it would be called Philippe. The depression was 305 miles south-southwest of the southernmost Cape Verde Islands and moving west-northwest with maximum sustained winds near 35 mph.

(Reporting by Kevin Gray; Editing by John O'Callaghan)