UK and Ireland braced for dangerous conditions and severe travel disruption

Hurricane Ophelia is to batter the UK and Ireland with gusts of up to 80mph, posing a danger to life and threatening travel chaos.

Schools, government buildings and courts are due to close in parts of Ireland on Monday, with the Met Office issuing severe weather alerts, warning of potential power cuts, and disruption to transport and mobile phone signal.

Airports are advising passengers in Ireland to check the latest information, with a number of Aer Lingus flights cancelled due to severe weather and the prospect of further cancellations with other carriers.

All schools and colleges in the Republic of Ireland will close for the day as fears mount over the damage the storm could wreak.

The tropical storm has made its way across the Atlantic and Ophelia’s remnants are set to reach home shores on Monday, resulting in “exceptional” weather – exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.

Northern Ireland is covered with an amber warning – meaning there is a “potential risk to life and property”, issued when forecasters believe people need to be prepared to change their plans and protect themselves from the impacts of severe weather.

Very windy weather is expected across the entire region, while a yellow warning is in place for much of Wales, Scotland, north east England, north west England, south west England and the West Midlands.

Gusts of 55-65mph are likely across Northern Ireland with 70-80mph gusts in the far south-east, while a smaller area of very gusty winds is then likely to run across the region from the west with 65-75mph gusts possible for a short period of time in any one location.

Forecasters are warning of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.

“This leads to the potential for injuries and danger to life,” the Met Office said.

Heavy rain is also possible in parts of Northern Ireland and western Scotland.

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said that while storms with these wind speeds tend to happen at this time of year, the one on its way is “quite a substantial system”, adding that he would describe it as “pretty exceptional”.

Mr Miall said Ophelia will have gone through a transition on its way across the Atlantic and will no longer be a hurricane, but will still bring “hurricane-force” winds.

Met Eireann have issued a “status red” weather alert for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry, warning of severe winds and stormy conditions.

Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted: “Defence forces being deployed in Red weather alert areas and on standby for further action (on Monday).

“Please check in with older neighbours and those who need medical care.”

Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport are advising passengers to check the latest flight information before travelling to the airport, while Cork Airport said cancellations are likely.

Ryanair said: “We will inform customers in the event of any changes to our flight schedule and the latest flight information will be posted on the Ryanair.com website.”

Bus Eireann said it will not run School Transport Scheme services on Monday in the counties of Waterford, Wexford, Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway and Mayo.

Loganair in Scotland is offering free flight changes on routes that could be hit by the severe weather conditions.

The airline said at the moment it still intends operating a normal full schedule on Monday and Tuesday.

The UK Military of Defence (MOD) has three battalions – 1,200 personnel in total – permanently on standby to assist with contingencies.

But an MOD spokesman said it has not yet received requests from any local authority for assistance.

This story was originally published in independent.co.uk

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *