Hurricane Hilary Moves Away From Mexico; Ophelia Strengthens

Pacific Hurricane Hilary moved away from Mexico’s southwestern coast as Atlantic Tropical Storm Ophelia gained strength east of the Leeward Islands, the U.S. National Hurricane Center said.

Hilary, a Category 4 storm on the five-step Saffir-Simpson scale with top winds of 145 miles (233 kilometers) per hour, is moving west at 8 mph into the Pacific. It was 130 miles south-southwest of Lazaro Cardenas, Mexico, as of 5 p.m. New York time, according to a center advisory.

“While Hilary has apparently not intensified further today, the cyclone does have the opportunity for some intensification as it should remain over very warm waters, in moist air and within low vertical wind shear for the next three days,” the center said in a forecast analysis.

Hilary is expected to move west for the next three days, the center said. Computer forecast models differ as to whether it will stay out to sea or turn back toward Mexico.

“The intensity for once may be easier to predict than the track forecast,” the hurricane center said earlier.

In the Atlantic, Tropical Storm Ophelia, the 15th named system of the season, strengthened as it moves west about 540 miles east of the Leeward Islands, which includes the Virgin Islands, Antigua and Barbuda. Its top winds are 60 mph, up from 40 mph earlier, according to the 5 p.m. advisory.

The center said earlier today that Ophelia was expected to weaken to tropical depression level. However, the latest advisory keeps it at tropical storm status for the next five days.

The hurricane center is also tracking an area of disturbed weather in the Atlantic about 385 miles south-southeast of the Cape Verde islands that has a 30 percent chance of becoming a depression or storm in the next two days.

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