Thursday 19 April 2018

Hurricane Ophelia set to batter Ireland with 120kmh winds

The projected path of Hurricane Ophelia
The projected path of Hurricane Ophelia

Kathy Armstrong

Winds of over 120km/h are set to batter the country when Hurricane Ophelia reaches Ireland early next week, Met Eireann has warned.

Ophelia is currently picking up speed as it crosses the Atlantic and we are expected to feel the effects of it on Monday and Tuesday.

Met Eireann forecaster Liz Walsh told the Irish Independent: "It is coming towards Ireland, basically the hurricane is south-west of the Azores right now and it is tracking towards Portugal.

"As it comes north over the weekend it will change into an extra-tropical cyclone and it is tracking towards Ireland and the UK.

"At the moment the track is very uncertain and it is therefore quite difficult to decipher where the strongest winds will be.

"It does look like it will hit Ireland on Monday, and heading into Tuesday it will be very stormy."

She said that Met Eireann has predicted gusts in "excess of 120km/h".

Ms Walsh also warned that Ophelia could also cause heavy showers here.

She said: "At the moment this is more of a wind event than a rain event but of course the possibility of heavy rainfall with an extra-tropical cyclone cannot be ruled out."

The UK Met Office has also revealed they are closely monitoring the situation.

Forecaster Alex Burkhill said: "It's definitely something that we are keeping an eye on, for the possibility of some disruptive weather early next week."

Ophelia is the tenth consecutive storm to reach hurricane level strength in the Atlantic so far this year, it is also the 15th named storm.

The high-speed winds set to hit Ireland early next week are still significantly less than the 180km/h gales that battered the Irish coast during Hurricane Debbie in 1961.

Winds of up to 181kmph were measured at Malin Head that day, one of the highest on record in Ireland.

The same gust speed had previously been measured in Foynes, Co Limerick, on January 18, 1945 before the instrument pen went off the chart.

In total 11 deaths were attributed to Hurricane Debbie and extensive damage to property was recorded across the Western half of the country.

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editor's Choice

Also in Irish News