Hurricane Ophelia batters Ireland

THE MOST POWERFUL storm ever recorded this far east in the Atlantic  is still making its way through Ireland.

Ex-Hurricane Ophelia made landfall in Kerry early this morning and is winding its way through the north of the country this evening.

Met Éireann had warned that the storm is likely to be the most severe weather event to hit the country in over 50 years.

A red alert wind warning remains in place for the entire country until 1am. Separate orange and yellow rainfall warnings have been issued also.

With widespread travel disruptions, closures to schools and universities and multiple warnings from government and local councils, here’s some of the main points you need to know about the impact of the storm:

  • Three people have died in incidents related to Ophelia. One woman died after the car she was travelling in was struck by a falling tree in Waterford; a man was killed while clearing a fallen tree with a chainsaw in Tipperary; and a man died in Louth after a tree fell on his car.
  • Everyone – from gardaí to local councils to Met Éireann to the Taoiseach – is saying that people should continue to remain indoors and avoid unnecessary journeys.
  • There is major travel disruption to Dublin Bus, Luas, Irish Rail and Bus Éireann services.
  • All schools and colleges were closed today and hospitals cancelled all outpatient appointments.
  • Businesses up and down the country did not open their doors today.
  • Over 330,000 customers are without power and ESB Networks has warned that it may be days before power is restored to everyone.
  • Rescue 116 and lifeboat crew were tasked to windsurfers in difficulty off the Louth coast. The Coast Guard has warned people to stay away from coastlines.
  • The storm has caused significant damage with images shared across social media showing roofs blown off and debris flying in its wake.

The Hurricane

Ophelia came up from the south through Kerry, before spreading to Cork and the rest of Munster.

Gale force winds early this morning gradually spread northwards across the country during the day.

Hurricane-force winds reached southern coastal counties late this morning with storm force winds spreading inland and northwards during the day.

Rain wasn’t as much as an issue as the wind, but there was expected to be rainfall of up to 50mm in parts of the west with isolated totals above 5mm in elevated areas. Across the eastern part of the country, rainfall amounts will likely average less than 30mm.

A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where the centre of the post-tropical cyclone makes landfall.

Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves.

The storm is expected to exit Irish coastal waters before midnight.


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