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Hurricane Ophelia continues heading slowly toward Europe

HURRICANES ATLANTIC | 12 de octubre de 2017

A chart provided by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) showing the forecast track for Hurricane Ophelia on Oct. 12, 2017. EFE

Miami, Oct 12 (efe-epa).- Hurricane Ophelia continues heading slowly toward Europe, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said Thursday.

The Category 1 hurricane has maximum sustained winds of 140 kph (85 mph) and is moving northeast at 6 kph (3 mph).

Ophelia is about 1,165 kilometers (725 miles) southwest of the Azores and could pass close to the islands on Sunday, the NHC said in its 0900 GMT advisory.

"Ophelia is moving toward the northeast ... This general motion is expected today, followed by a faster motion toward the east-northeast or northeast on Friday," the NHC said.

The storm could pass between Portugal's Azores and Madeira islands on a track that could take it toward Ireland, where it could arrive as a hurricane on Monday.

"Interests in the eastern Azores should monitor the progress of Ophelia," the NHC said.

Ophelia could reach the northern United Kingdom as a tropical storm on Tuesday.

The 10th hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic season could strengthen slightly over the next few days, forecasters at the Miami-based NHC said.

On Wednesday, Ophelia became the 10th tropical storm in a row to develop into a hurricane, marking the first time this has happened in more than a century.

Of the these 10 hurricanes, five - Harvey, Irma, Jose, Lee and Maria - reached a high level of intensity, defined as Category 3, 4 or 5, on the Saffir-Simpson scale.

This had not happened since 2005, when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, killing more than 1,800 people and devastating the port city.

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