Fresh warnings as hurricane heads to UK
The Met Office has issued Northern Ireland with an amber weather warning as Hurricane Ophelia remains on course to hit Ireland and the UK on Monday.
The warning, of “potential danger to life”, came as Ireland called a national emergency meeting.
Ophelia, on its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, is currently blowing winds of 90mph (145km/h).
The hurricane will be a storm when it hits the UK, exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.
It is expected to bring severe winds and stormy conditions to parts of Ireland and the UK – with winds of up to 70mph (113km/h).
The Met Office said there was a “good chance” Northern Ireland could be hit on Monday afternoon by power cuts, flying debris, large waves in coastal areas and disruption to all travel services.
It also issued a yellow warning of “very windy weather”, which it updated later on Sunday morning to take in much of northern England and Wales, along with parts of southern and central Scotland.
The Republic of Ireland’s Met Office has issued a red warning for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.
It predicts that coastal areas will be hit by winds in excess of 80mph (130km/h) from 09:00 BST on Monday until Tuesday and is warning against unnecessary travel.
Ireland’s Department of Education has told all schools in the eight counties affected by the red alert to remain closed on Monday.
BBC Weather said Monday would be a “day of huge contrasts” with the strong gusts of wind travelling over the Irish Sea and heading north to central and southern Scotland, sparing eastern parts of the UK.
Eastern England is instead expected to enjoy unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures of 22C or 23C on Monday – compared with an average for mid-October of 15C.
Highs of 24C were recorded in the region on Saturday as some parts of the country basked in a “mini heatwave” thanks to warm air brought by Hurricane Ophelia.
Ophelia set the record for the most eastern category three hurricane in the Atlantic.
Category three hurricanes are defined as having wind speeds of between 111mph (179km/h) and 129mph (208km/h) and can cause major damage to well-built homes.
Ophelia has since been downgraded to a category one hurricane by the US National Hurricane Center and is forecast to gradually weaken but maintain hurricane force winds until it reaches Ireland.
Read more: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-41627442