It is the 14th named storm of the season and would become the 10th in a row to reach hurricane strength.
The NOAA National Hurricane Center's latest storm path shows Ophelia reaching the coast of Portugal by late Sunday night as a post-tropical cyclone with hurricane-strength winds. This has not happened in 124 years, or since 1893.
There are a couple of caveats to this record, however.
Storms become hurricanes when they reach 74 miles per hour. Four days later, Lee sprung back to life as a tropical cyclone and eventually strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane on September 27. Ophelia will then run into an approaching deep-layer trough that will make the hurricane accelerate toward the northeast.
This season has already been above average in all three categories, named storms, hurricanes and major hurricanes.
Ophelia is the strongest storm to develop so far east in the Atlantic since 2009, tweeted Klotzbach,.
"If I only had conventional satellite imagery, I would definitely estimate that Ophelia was a hurricane", NHC forecaster Lixion Avila said. Ophelia is now tracking towards Portugal, and will likely pass to the west of the country. All of those occurred in August or September, except for Hurricane Fran in October 1973 and Hurricane Alex in January 2016, which made landfall shortly after weakening to a tropical storm.
Tropical storm: A tropical cyclone that has wind speeds of between 39 miles per hour and 73 miles per hour. Neither of those was a hurricane.
The Weather Network forecast that Ophelia will merge with another system as it approaches the United Kingdom and Ireland before veering east.