Ireland on lockdown, Dublin Airport to cancel up to 90 flights due to rough weather
Hurricane Ophelia has started to batter Ireland with thousands of residents left without power and all bus services cancelled until at least 14:00 local time, media reports state.
Although the hurrricane has been downgraded to a a category one storm, Met office has warned that it is still life-threatening as parts of the UK will be battered with 80mph gusts of wind today.
Ophelia is on its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean.
According to BBC’s Ireland correspondent Chris Page, Ophelia would be the most severe storm to hit the island of Ireland in half a century. While a red weather warning has been issued for the Republic, an amber warning has been issued for Northern Ireland.
Ireland has been put on lockdown, with all schools and colleges closed and the Defence Forces have been put on standby as a precautionary measure. A statement from Ireland’s education department said the closures were necessary following official advice on the “unprecedented storm”.
According to media reports, Dublin Airport would be operating the early morning flights but another 90 flights are expected to be cancelled when the storm hits the country. Ryanair and Aer Lingus have also cancelled flights due to the severe weather.
Met Eireann meteorologist Joanna Donnelly told BBC today that “hurricane-force winds” were expected at Ireland’s southern coast at around 10am (BST), but the “real impact” for the Republic of Ireland will be about midday.
Thirty years after the Great Storm of 1987 hit Britain, the Met Office has warned of “potential danger to life” when Ophelia strikes western and northern areas of England, southern Scotland and Northern Ireland today. On the night of 16 October 1987, the UK was hit by hurricane force winds killing at least 22 people.
However, US hurricane forecasters have stated that Ophelia has been downgraded to a category one hurricane and is expected to continue weakening.
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