Storm Ophelia lashes Ireland with 130 km/h winds, heavy rain
Monday, October 16, 2017, 11:07 AM - Warnings are in effect for Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom as the remnants of history-making Hurricane Ophelia batter the British Isles, where forecasters are warning of damaging winds, power outages, and potential flooding.
The now ex-hurricane Ophelia set the record for easternmost category 3 hurricane in the Atlantic Basin before becoming officially post-tropical late Sunday night. As of the last advisory issued by the U.S. National Hurricane Center, the storm still sported maximum sustained winds of 140 km/h.
By noon Monday, local time, airports across Ireland were reporting winds gusting as high as 130 km/h. Ireland's national weather service, Met Éireann, called Ophelia the strongest storm to affect the island in 50 years, comparing it to 1961's Storm Debbie, which killed 18 people. The storm arrives in the United Kingdom on the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987, which killed at least 22 people in England and France.
News agencies have announced three fatalities associated with the storm as of Monday evening, local time. All three are related to fallen trees.
The storm has also drawn Saharan sand as far north as the isles, along with smoke from the uncontrolled fires in Spain and Portugal, which made for a surreal sunrise on Monday morning and twilight skies for much of the day across parts of Ireland and the U.K.