Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia Blasting Ireland, United Kingdom With Damaging Winds; Gusts Over 70 MPH Reported

October 16, 2017

Ophelia is hammering portions of Ireland and the western United Kingdom with damaging winds on Monday after transitioning from a hurricane into a powerful post-tropical cyclone over the weekend.

Current Satellite and Winds

The area of low pressure associated with Ophelia will continue to move northward on Monday near the western coast of Ireland. Strong, damaging winds are the main impact from Ophelia in Ireland and parts of the western United Kingdom.

Wind gusts have topped 60 mph in several locations, including one gust to 109 mph on Fastnet Island off the southern coast of Ireland.

Here's a look at some of the top wind gust reports so far:

  • Fastnet Island, Ireland: 109 mph
  • Cork, Ireland: 77 mph
  • St. Mary's Island, United Kingdom: 67 mph
  • Waterford, Ireland: 61 mph

(MORE: Where the October Hurricane Threat is the Greatest)

Met Eireann has issued a red wind warning for all of Ireland on Monday. This is where sustained winds over 50 mph and gusts over 80 mph are expected, potentially causing structural damage and dangerous marine conditions. Downed trees and power lines are also likely.

"There is potential risk to lives," Met Eireann noted in the warning.

The U.K. Met Office has issued an amber warning for wind on Monday in Northern Ireland. The warning indicates that some transportation delays are possible, and there is a chance of power outages.

A yellow warning for wind is in place across western Scotland, Wales and far western England.

Irish authorities ordered all schools in Ireland to close Monday and warned cyclists and motorists to stay off roads, the Associated Press reported.

Farthest East Major Hurricane on Record

For a time Saturday into early Sunday, Ophelia was a major hurricane (Category 3 or stronger on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale).

That made Ophelia the farthest east Category 3 hurricane on record for the Atlantic Basin. The previous record was Hurricane Frances in 1980.

Ophelia was also the sixth major hurricane of the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season. This means 2017 is tied for the most major hurricanes through Oct. 14 with 1933, 1961, 1964 and 2004, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach, Colorado State University tropical meteorologist.

Record-Tying 10th Consecutive Atlantic Hurricane

Ophelia is the 10th consecutive Atlantic named storm to become a hurricane in 2017.

This ties the record for the most consecutive Atlantic named storms reaching hurricane strength, which also happened in three other years: 1878, 1886 and 1893, according to Dr. Phil Klotzbach.

There are a couple of caveats to this record, however.

"Lee could easily be counted as two storms," tweeted Brenden Moses, a University of Miami hurricane researcher specializing in the historical hurricane database.

After briefly becoming a tropical storm, Lee degenerated into a remnant low on Sept. 18 about halfway between west Africa and the Lesser Antilles. Four days later, Lee sprung back to life as a tropical cyclone and eventually strengthened to a Category 3 hurricane on Sept. 27.

Moses later tweeted that if separated, there would be a tropical storm, then a separate hurricane, which would make the 10-straight-hurricane record invalid. This type of post-analysis occurs after every hurricane season, sometimes leading to the addition of previously unnamed storms or tweaking of tropical cyclone intensities.

The other disclaimer about tropical cyclones before satellites were routinely used to examine the entire tropical Atlantic Basin in 1966 is that some tropical storms – even hurricanes – may have been missed that could have influenced any streaks, especially in the 19th century.

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

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