LISBON, Oct. 13 (Xinhua) -- Porutgal's Azores Meteorological Forecasts and Monitoring Center raised warning levels on Friday after Hurricane Ophelia was upgraded to Category 2 level.
The center of the cyclone was 995 km away from the archipelago on Friday morning and heading towards the islands at a speed of 13 km per hour.
A direct hit is still not expected, but there is a 50 to 70 percent chance of winds surpassing 100 km per hour on Santa Maria island from midday on Saturday.
This would be accompanied by strong rain, thunder and waves reaching up to 6 meters in height.
Sao Miguel island, home to Ponta Delgada, the administrative capital of the Autonomous Region of the Azores, has a 20 to 30 percent possibility of experiencing the same conditions.
Hurricane Ophelia is beating an usual path. Temperatures in the mid-Atlantic are typically too cool for hurricanes to develop.
The last hurricane to impact the Azores was Alex in 2016, doubly unusual as it occurred in January. The hurricane season typically starts in June.
Hurricane Alex was a Category 1 hurricane and passed by the west of the archipelago, whereas Hurricane Ophelia is Category 2 and is heading for the east.