Thursday 22 February 2018

'I've never seen anything like Ophelia' - Met Éireann's Evelyn Cusack

Kevin Doyle

Kevin Doyle

Meteorologist Evelyn Cusack has never seen anything like Hurricane Ophelia in her 35 years of forecasting Ireland’s weather.

The well-known face of Met Eireann told Independent.ie today’s events are “not even unusual, but unprecedented”.

She said that normally hurricane which begin in the Caribbean travel westward towards America but Ophelia headed north.

Due to colder water temperatures in the Atlantic it has been technically downgraded from a hurricane, but Ms Cusack said Ophelia remains an “exceptionally powerful storm giving hurricane strength winds”.

Weather phenomenon Ophelia has already claimed the life of a woman in Waterford.

The woman suffered fatal injuries when the car in which she was travelling was struck by a large tree.

It is understood that a limb of the tree pierced the vehicle inflicting fatal injuries on the woman.

A garda spokeswoman told Independent.ie. "Gardaí are at scene of a fatal road traffic collision that occurred outside Aglish village on the R671 this morning at 11.40a.m.

"A female driver (mid 20s) was fatally injured when the car she was driver was struck by a falling tree. 

"A female passenger (mid 50s) was injured and has been removed to Waterford Regional Hospital with non life threatening injuries.  Emergencies services are still at scene."

The accident happened at Aglish, in west Waterford shortly after 11am as Storm Ophelia reached its height in the south with wind gusts in excess of 130km/h.

Waterford gardaí and emergency services attended the scene but tragically the woman was pronounced dead before she could be transferred to University Hospital Waterford.

Appeals have been made again to stay off the roads and streets of Irish towns and cities, until the worst of Storm Ophelia has passed.

Meanwhile, the whole of Ireland will experience "violent" winds from the weather phenomenon, with each part of the country bearing the brunt of the storm for approximately three hours, a forecaster has warned.

Hurricane strength winds of 190km per hour have been recorded on Fastnet Rock.

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