Hurricane Ophelia is meandering far out at sea in the eastern Atlantic, southwest of the Azores.
Ophelia, which the National Hurricane Center upgraded to a hurricane around 4:30 p.m., ties a streak set in 1878 and reached again in 1996 and 1893, according to Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University specializing in Atlantic Basin seasonal hurricane forecasts. It is expected to follow in that general direction till Thursday and pick up speed by the beginning of Friday.
The Category 1 hurricane has max sustained winds of 85 miles per hour (140 kph).
Slight strengthening is possible over the next day or two, forecasters said. However, if it does strike the Irish coast, it will not do so as a hurricane, but a tropical storm.
If Ophelia becomes a hurricane it will be the ninth so far this year in the Atlantic.
There were no coastal watches or warnings in effect. It is now forecast to stay west of Portugal before bringing gusty winds and rain to Ireland early next week.
The hurricane center's five-day forecast, which can change, has a weakened and changing to extratropical storm Ophelia heading toward the British Isles by Monday. Only 15 known hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since 1851.
Previously, only two tropical cyclones have struck the coasts of Spain and Portugal in the past - a transitioning hurricane in October 1842 and Hurricane Vince, as a tropical depression, in October 2005. Before satellites, it was hard to keep accurate records of Atlantic hurricanes. That's a bit of an unusual track for Atlantic storms.