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Conditions will remain favorable for tropical storms and hurricanes to form over the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico for several more weeks.
Including Ophelia, there have been 15 tropical storms, 10 hurricanes and six major hurricanes so far in the 2017 Atlantic season.
"Since the satellite era began during the early 1960s, 2017 is the only year where there have been 10 consecutive hurricanes in the Atlantic basin," according to AccuWeather Hurricane Expert Dan Kottlowski.
Ophelia has set the record for the farthest east that a major hurricane has roamed the waters of the Atlantic, according to Philip Klotzbach, meteorologist at Colorado State University. The previous record was Frances from 1980.
There have only been four other years (1933, 1961, 1964 and 2004) when a hurricane season has produced as many major hurricanes through Oct. 14, according to Klotzbach.
As warmth persists over much of the southern and eastern United States this month, so too will the potential for additional tropical storms and hurricanes to form and track near populated areas.
During most years, around this point in October, atmospheric conditions begin to change near North America that tend to inhibit tropical storm formation and/or keeps tropical storms away.
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However, the overall atmospheric environment will remain favorable for tropical storm formation for weeks this year.
Tropical and subtropical waters are still warm and winds aloft are rather weak in the key development areas, according to Kottlowski.
"I think there will be at least two more tropical storms, of which one or two can become a hurricane into December," Kottlowski said.
"There is still a chance of one more major (Category 3) hurricane."
This is not to say that all or any of these will strike land in the U.S., Caribbean or anywhere, but the risk is there.
"Odds are against Texas being impacted again this season," Kottlowski said. "However, the risk is there east of Texas, especially Florida."
Aside from an occasional mid-ocean storm, the typical tropical storm formation areas during the rest of October and November are farther west than during August and September.
Since most tropical storms form in the Caribbean, near Central America and the southern coast of the U.S., it is nearly impossible for such a storm to avoid hitting land or at least avoid causing indirect impact.
This year, an area of high pressure off the southeastern Atlantic coast will persist. A high pressure area is a large zone of sinking air that rotates clockwise. The flow around this high is what is helping to pump temperatures in the southern and eastern U.S. and provide an avenue for tropical systems to travel upon.
In the short term, Ophelia isn't the only area of concern in the Atlantic.
A tropical depression may attempt to develop over the open waters between Puerto Rico and Bermuda early this week.
Another area to watch will be just off the southeastern U.S. coast later next week.
There have been destructive hurricanes during late October and November. These include Category 5 Hurricane Mitch (1998) and Category 2 Hurricane Sandy (2012).
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