Ophelia became a hurricane late Wednesday, the tenth named storm in a row to reach that status, tying a record set more than a century ago.
Located in the central Atlantic about 760 miles southwest of the Azores, the hurricane poses no threat to land and would probably be unremarkable if not for its place in the record books. The last time a season produced 10 consecutive hurricanes was in 1893, according to Colorado State University meteorologist Phil Klotzbach — a period when tracking hurricanes largely relied on ships and barometric readings.
The storm was nearly stalled Wednesday evening, with sustained winds of 70 mph. If it picks up speed, it could intensify over the next day or so, then encounter increasing wind shear in three days that should cause it to weaken and fall apart over the weekend, National Hurricane Center forecasters said.
So far, the 2017 season is the third most active on record, behind 1933 and 2005, forecaster said. September — when the season historically peaks — has been three and a half times busier than the last three decades. Jose, Katia, Lee and Maria all became hurricanes and while Irma formed in August, it hung around long enough to make a September appearance.
Both Irma and Maria also reached fierce Category 5 strength.
September also set a new high for the most accumulated cyclone energy — a measure of the intensity and duration of storms — breaking the record set in 2004, forecasters said.
If that’s not enough grim news, Florida holds another place in the record books: it typically gets hit hardest in October, with 28 strikes since 1878, Klotzbach said in a tweet. The next in line, Louisiana, has been hit only seven times in October.