It may not be another Maria, but now Europe is about to get a taste of a hurricane. Ireland could be hit by winds of up to 80mph as the remains of Hurricane Ophelia strikes at the start of next week. The hurricane looks set to travel north towards Ireland and Britain from the mid-Atlantic.
By the time Ophelia reaches land – likely to the west of Ireland – on Monday it will have become an ex-hurricane. However, the deep area of low pressure will still pack a punch.
“Most ex-tropical features come across the north Atlantic from Newfoundland,” said John Wylie from the Met Office at Aldergrove in County Antrim.
“This one, from the south west, is more unusual. Although it has happened before.
“The most famous was ex-hurricane Gordon in 2006.” The Met Office warns that wind gusts of up to 70mph (115km/h) can be expected in exposed areas, with gusts up to 60mph (95km/h) elsewhere.
Some delays to road, rail, air and ferry transport are possible according to the Met Office’s yellow weather warning for Northern Ireland. “It is possible that some coastal routes, sea fronts and coastal communities will be affected by spray and larges waves,” it says.
Weather warnings have been issued across the Republic of Ireland by Met Éireann for strong and potentially disruptive winds. The system “has the potential to be a high-impact event in parts of the country” according to a yellow level warning issued by Met Éireann.
“There is a lot of uncertainty as to the exact evolution and movement of this weather system during the coming four days, but storm-force winds, outbreaks of heavy rain, and very high seas are threatened.”
It is important to note that the track of the storm may change in the coming days and that will determine if warning levels are increased or not.