Former Hurricane Ophelia rocks Ireland with 100-mph wind gusts

Former Hurricane Ophelia plowed into southern Ireland early Monday, unleashing wind gusts as high as 119 mph, ripping off roofs and downing trees. The Irish Meteorological Service said it could be the country’s strongest storm in 50 years.

The BBC reported the storm had caused at least three deaths . The Journal, an Irish news outlet, said an “unprecedented” 360,000 customers were without power  - writes washingtonpost.com.

Schools throughout Ireland were closed Monday and Tuesday, and bus and rail services were extremely limited.

As the storm swept through its southern areas, the Irish Meteorological Service described the winds as “violent and destructive” and predicted damaging winds to “extend rapidly to the rest of the country” Monday afternoon.

As the storm swept through its southern areas, the Irish Meteorological Servicedescribed the windsas “violent and destructive” and predicted damaging winds to “extend rapidly to the rest of the country” Monday afternoon.

All of Ireland was under a “status red” wind warning, the highest level. Several locations — mostly in extreme southwest Ireland — reported wind gusts exceeding hurricane force, including:

  • 119 mph gust at Fastnet Rock, a lighthouse about 8 miles offshore of southwest Ireland, at height of 200 feet.
  • 97 mph gust at Roches Point, a lighthouse at the entrance to Cork Harbor.
  • 84 mph gust at Sherkin Island, before power loss.
  • 78 mph gust at Cork Airport, before power loss.
  • 76 mph gust at Shannon Airport.

If the 119 mph gust at Fastnet Rock is verified and considered official, it would break the record for Ireland’s strongest wind gust of 113 mph set at Malin Head, at Ireland’s northern tip, during Hurricane Debbie in 1961.

Wind gusts of at least tropical storm-force (39 mph and higher) affected much of Ireland. Dublin recorded a gust of 65 mph.

Images from social media showed roofs sheared off a school gym and soccer stadium inCork, a university city just inland from Ireland’s southwest coast, where wind gusts reached hurricane strength.

As the storm and its winds piled water up along Ireland’s west coast, the ocean surged inland. In Salthill, on Ireland’s central west coast, David Blevins, a correspondent for Sky News, tweeted that coastal defenses were “completely breached.”

While destructive, the storm was moving very quickly and was expected to exit southern areas by 4 to 6 p.m. Monday local time, and northern areas by around midnight.

Effects on the United Kingdom

The U.K. Met Office issued an “amber wind warning,” its second-highest alert, for Northern Ireland as well as parts of north and west Wales and extreme southwest Scotland.

“There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage,” the Met Office warned. “Flying debris is likely, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.”

You can also find some photos and video from our subscriber with Hurricane.

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