MIAMI – Tropical Storm Ofelia is intensifying in the Atlantic and expected to become a hurricane in the next 24 hours, the National Hurricane Center (NHC) said on Tuesday.
Ofelia has maximum sustained winds of 85 kph (50 mph), with higher gusts, the NHC said in its 0800 GMT advisory.
Forecasters at the Miami-based NHC expect the system to strengthen in the next few hours and become a Category 1 hurricane with winds of more than 119 kph (74 mph) on Wednesday.
Ofelia is about 1,355 kilometers (845 miles) west-southwest of the Azores and moving northeast at 6 kph (3 mph).
On the current forecast track, Ofelia could pass south of the Azores as a hurricane next weekend, but it is unlikely to make landfall on the islands as it heads toward continental Europe.
Tropical storm force winds extend out 165 kilometers (105 miles) from the center of Ofelia, the NHC said.