Storm Ophelia Lashes Ireland: Three People Dead, Thousands Without Power
Ex-Hurricane Ophelia brought violent winds to the UK on Monday, Oct. 16, with Ireland bearing the brunt of the storm.
A woman and a man died separately in Ireland when trees fell on their cars, according to reports, while a second man died in an accident with a chainsaw as he was trying to clear a fallen tree.
Violent winds pushed waves up to 10 metres (30 feet) high, while 360,000 houses had no electricity. A further 100,000 outages are expected before nightfall.
The Irish Meteorological Service predicts ex-hurricane Ophelia will continue to bring destructive winds tonight, with gusts in excess of 110 kilometers (68 miles) per hour, and up to 140 kilometers (87 miles) per hour still possible.
It tweeted some of its strongest gusts today (in kilometres) including at Fastnet Lighthouse, where there were winds of 191 km/h (118 mph).
A selection of some of our strongest gusts today (km/h):
Fastnet Lightnouse 191
Roches Point 156
Kinsale Platform 141#Ophelia
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 16, 2017
The storm, downgraded from a hurricane during the night, was the worst to hit Ireland in half a century. It made landfall after 10:40 a.m. local time, the Irish National Meteorological Service said, with winds as strong as 190 km/h (118 mph) hitting the most southerly tip of the country. The service said coastal flooding is likely.
The Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar advised people to stay indoors. The transport minister said it was not safe to drive.
Schools in Northern Ireland were closed, and around 170 flights were cancelled at Dublin and Shannon Airport.
The Met Office issued an Amber weather warning, between 12:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. local time, alerting people of flying debris, including roof tiles, and large waves. It said the storm posed a potential danger to life. The warning covered Northern Ireland, north and west Wales, and the extreme southwest of Scotland.
A yellow warning has been issued for parts of Wales, Scotland, north east England, north west England, south west England and the West Midlands.
Authorities in Dumfries and Galloway in Scotland have created a Live incidents map to track cancellations, road closures, and the destruction of buildings.
Many recalled the “Great Storm” of 1987 that hit England 30 years earlier—to the day—on Oct. 16. The storm left 18 dead.
— Adrian McCarthy (@TheRebelRam) October 16, 2017
“This storm is still very active and there are still very dangerous conditions in parts of the country,” the chairman of Ireland’s National Emergency Coordination Group, Sean Hogan, told national broadcaster RTE. “Do not be lulled into thinking this has passed.”
Reuters contributed to this report