This article titled “Storm Ophelia: woman dies in south-east Ireland after tree falls on car – latest updates” was written by Matthew Weaver and Haroon Siddique, for theguardian.com on Monday 16th October 2017 13.34 UTC
The Environment Agency has three flood warnings and 13 flood alerts in place for south west and north west England.
Cumbria council has closed the Ford bridge in Burneside, near Kendal
More strange light is being reported across the UK.
There are several reports of a strange dark orange light in northern England.
Earlier today a red looking sun was seen in many parts of England. The light is caused by particulates thrown up by the storm, according to experts.
All trains cancelled in Ireland
Irish Rail has cancelled all trains for the rest of the day.
Schools in Pembrokeshire close
All schools in Pembrokeshire on the west of Wales coast have been closed, as disruption from Ophelia spreads to the UK.
At least four downed trees are causing traffic problems in the county, the council said.
Around 200 homes are without power in the Eglwyswrw area, including the school which had to close early. The council decided to close all of its schools at 1pm.
The number of homes and businesses without power has almost doubled to 230,000, according to RTE.
Power cuts are no longer confined to the south-west of Ireland. Around a thousand homes are without power in Cong in County Mayo.
The violent winds caused by Storm Ophelia has affected the filming of Game of Thrones.
Set building for the cult television series, a large part of which is filmed in Northern Ireland, has been suspended due to the storm.
Filming on the new Superman prequel series Krypton, which is also being shot in the region, has also been halted for the day due to safety fears.
The storm has ripped off roofs in Cork, according to dramatic footage and photographs.
The fatal accident occurred in Aglish in west Waterford around 11.40am.
The victim is a woman in her 20s and was travelling in the car with another woman who was also hurt. Reports from the county say the limb of a tree pierced the windscreen of the vehicle during the storm.
The woman was taken to Waterford University hospital but was pronounced dead before arriving. A woman in the car with her was treated for non-life threatening injuries.
What we know so far
- A woman has been killed in Waterford, south-east Ireland as Tropical Storm Ophelia batters Ireland with winds of more than 100mph. Waterford council said the woman was killed when high winds brought down a tree on her car in Aglish.
- At least 120,000 homes and businesses are without power amid scores of reports of fallen trees and power lines. The main electricity supplier warned that it expects more to lose power by the end of the day and disruption could last all week.
- The Irish prime minister, Leo Varadkar, issued a personal appeal for citizens of the Republic to remain indoors. He described the impact of Ophelia on Ireland as a “national emergency”.
- Bill Clinton’s visit to Belfast was cancelled because of the storm. The former US president was due to meet political parties represented in the Stormont parliament to urge them to find a way to restore the power-sharing government. Government buildings in Northern Ireland have been closed.
- The Met Office has extended an amber weather warning to parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England with winds threatening power cuts and falling debris. A series of flood alerts and warnings are in place for south west and north west England. Planes have been grounded at Manchester airport, with 20 flights cancelled and passengers warned to check ahead before travelling to the airport.
- Waves of up to 27ft high were recorded at sea as a rare warning for hurricane-force 12 winds was issued for shipping areas south of Ireland.
A tree fell on the car in Aglish, Co Waterford this morning in which she was the only occupant, according to a spokeswoman for Waterford County Council.
In its latest update the electricity supplier ESB said 120,000 customers are without power.
- 120,000 customers, predominantly in southern counties are left without power
- Majority of customers currently without electricity will be without supply overnight
- Crews across the country are in the process of responding to electricity outages, once it is safe to do so
- Customers who use electrically powered medical devices should contact their healthcare professional
An increase in hurricane-force winds wreaking havoc across the Britain and Ireland is entirely consistent with global warming, according to scientists.
A warmer world means more energy in the climate system, especially in the oceans, which is where big storms derive their energy from.
“There is evidence that hurricane-force storms hitting the UK, like Ophelia, will be enhanced in the future due to human-induced climate change,” said Dr Dann Mitchell, at the University of Bristol. “While tropical hurricanes lose strength when they travel north, they can re-intensify due to the nature of the atmospheric circulation at UK latitudes. It is the rise in temperatures over most of the Atlantic that is a primary driver of this, a clear signature of human-induced climate change.”
In May, a report found that even the minimum global warming expected – an increase of 1.5C – is projected to increase the cost of windstorm destruction by more than a third in parts of the UK. If climate change heats the world even further, broken roofs and damaged buildings are likely to increase by over 50% across a swathe of the nation, the report found. Northern Ireland, facing Hurricane Ophelia on Monday, is the worst affected region of the UK.
However, the high winds battering the west coasts are not highly unusual, according to Julian Heming, tropical prediction scientist at the UK Met Office, said: “Wind gusts of up to 80mph are expected over the UK from ex-hurricane Ophelia. This kind of wind strength is not unusual for an autumn/winter storm in the UK. For example, four of the five named storms affecting the UK in 2016 recorded wind gusts in excess of 80 mph.”
The Met Office said that while unusual for hurricanes to impact the UK, it’s not unprecedented with Gordon impacting the UK in 2006 and Grace in 2009.
Woman reported killed in Waterford
The broadcaster RTE is reporting that a woman has been killed by fallen tree in Waterford
Waterford council confirmed one fatality in Aglish in the south-west of the county.
Government buildings in Northern Ireland are to close at 1pm, PA reports.
The head of the Northern Ireland civil service, David Sterling, held an emergency meeting with the permanent secretaries from all government departments on Monday morning.
It was decided that all government buildings providing non-essential services close at 1pm and all non-essential civil service staff will leave work at that time.
Guidance is to be issued later about school opening arrangements for Tuesday.
Here’s our news story rounding up the latest on the storm.
These before and after stills show trees uprooted by the storm.
Anglesey county council, in north Wales, has instructed all schools to close after lunch because of the threat posed by Ophelia.
This video, from Sky News’s Dublin correspondent, vividly illustrates the storm’s force:
A series of flood alerts and flood watches are in force for south-west and north-west England.
Red sky in the morning, shepherds warning…
A red sun being seen in parts of the UK has been caused by particulates thrown up by Ophelia, according experts.
Belfast international airport has confirmed that it has cancelled 24 flights, most of them to or from the UK.
A spokesman said the airport is on standby to take diverted flights destined for Dublin including a number of transatlantic flights.
Up to 100,000 homes and businesses without power
Up to 100,000 homes and businesses in Ireland are now without power, according to Derek Hynes, operations manager of the electricity supplier ESB. He warned a news briefing that more homes will be without power by the end of the day.
We have, and we will have had, trees falling on our network over the course of this morning. We do have, and we have more, live electrical wires on the ground. Please stay safe by staying clear of all fallen electricity wires. We are approaching 100,000 homes and businesses without electricity. They are predominantly in an area from Cork city west and north up as far as Tralee.
That currently comprises a total of about 400 individual outages. Each one of these individual outages is a potential threat to members of the public in terms of fallen wires on the ground.
Reports of Ophelia making landfall
Storm watchers reckon Ophelia is making landfall in County Kerry.
Broadcaster RTE also reports the storm making landfall
Met Éireann has issued a new warning for “violent and destructive gusts” of up 93mph (150 kmph) across Ireland and even strong gusts in coastal and hilly areas.
It repeated a warning to life and property, with the strongest winds in the provinces of Munster and south Leinster.
Ophelia forces Bill Clinton to postpone Stormont intervention
Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, has appealed to the Irish public to stay indoors as Storm Ophelia batters Ireland.
Referring to the biggest storm recorded in Irish history, Debbie in the 1960s, he said: “The last time we had a storm this severe 11 lives were lost so safety is our number one priority.”
Speaking in Dublin before a cabinet meeting to co-ordinate Ireland’s response to the storm, Varadkar reminded the public that the red weather warning applied to all cities and all counties across Ireland.
And he warned that the danger to public safety was not over even after the storm had passed the island as there would be fallen trees and felled power lines, many of which could still be live, all across the country in the aftermath of Ophelia.
A media briefing by the Northern Ireland Office at Stormont today has been cancelled.
Former US president Bill Clinton was scheduled to speak in the city today and deliver an address urging Northern Ireland’s political parties to find a solution that would restore devolved government in the region.
During his trip Clinton was to hold talks with the parties represented at the Stormont assembly. Clinton was due to be in Ireland to receive an award from Dublin City University later on Monday evening.
Kevin Moran, minister for flood relief, warned that the storm will bring flooding and widespread structural damage.
Speaking at that press conference in Dublin he said: “This storm is over 120km in width so it is going to do an awful lot of structural damage to the whole country. There is going to be flooding in some parts of the country, but we don’t know the level. This is unprecedented.
“What we are seeing happening in Cork at the present time and the amount of electricity that’s out, if that is to ripple right through then we’re faced with an awful problem tomorrow and right into the weekend.”
Asked whether the Irish government had done enough to prepare the country, Moran said: “That’s an unfair question. We have spoken to every local authority in the country.”
Varadkar said homeless people will be allowed to stay in hostels throughout the day to protect them from the storm.
Engineers from the UK are to travel to Ireland to help restore power, Taoiseach Leo Varadkar told that press conference.
He said: “So far we don’t have any reports of any injuries, but we do have trees down and power outrages. About 15,000 are without power … in Cork.
“Staff are ready to come in from Northern Ireland and Britain to assist in the coming days in restoring power. We can only restore the power lines when it is safe to do so.”
He added: “While in some parts of the country the storm is not yet that bad it is coming your way and this is a national red alert. It applies to all cities all counties and all areas.
“Even after the storm has passed there will still be dangers. There will be trees on the ground. There will be power lines down.”
Wind speeds of more than 77 mph (124kmph) were recorded at Cork airport at 10am, while an offshore speed of more than 109 mph was recorded on Fastnet Rock.
Varadkar urges people to stay indoors as the storm passes. He said the government’s priority is to avoid injury. So far no injuries have been reported, he said.
He urges people to work from home where possible.
Ireland’s taoiseach, Leo Varadkar, is giving a TV address.
22,000 homes in Ireland without power
There are now 22,000 customers hit with power cuts as lines are knocked down, according to the Electricity Supply Board in the Irish Republic.
An ESB spokeswoman appealed to the public to stay away from fallen power lines as many of them are still live.
Ireland’s prime minister, Leo Varadkar, is due to give a live TV address in the next few minutes.
Gust of more than 100mph were recorded as Tropical storm Ophelia approaches the southern coast of Ireland. A speed of of 165kmph (103mph) was recorded at an amateur station in Durrus, in county Cork.
A speed of 92 was recorded at an official station on Fastnet Rock.
Here’s satellite imagery from the National Weather Service Ocean Prediction Center.
And this is the latest forecast track from the Irish Met office, Met Eireann.
The storm has yet to make landfall.
Here’s a map showing the forecast path of the storm.
There are already 5,000 homes without electricity due to power lines coming down as Storm Ophelia hits the south and south-west of Ireland.
Most of the power outages so far are in Cork and Kerry, where police said trees and power lines have already been brought down.
With the red weather warning now extended to the entire Irish Republic, Gardai have advised people to stay indoors and only go out for essential journeys.
Dublin Bus has withdrawn all its services in the Irish capital from 10am to 6pm tonight.
In Northern Ireland meanwhile the lord chief justice has ordered all courts to be shut by 12.30pm. The Department of Agriculture has announced the closure of all forest parks in Northern Ireland for the day. The closure of all schools and colleges including universities is unprecedented for Northern Ireland.
Here’s the stormy scene in Ballyrisode, in Cork south-west Ireland.
Amber weather warning extended
The Met Office has extended an amber weather warning to parts of Scotland, Wales and northern England threatening power cuts and falling debris.
A spell of very windy weather is expected today in association with ex-Ophelia. Longer journey times and cancellations are likely, as road, rail, air and ferry services may be affected as well as some bridge closures. There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage. 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. This leads to the potential for injuries and danger to life. This warning has been updated to extend it into parts of north and west Wales and into the extreme south-west of Scotland.
The storm has already brought down trees and power lines in south-west Ireland, according to the Irish police.
This storm has arrived. Speaking to colleagues down in the south west this morning we have trees down in County Kerry, we have trees and power lines down in west Cork already this morning. This is just the start of the storm.
I would appeal particularly to motorcyclists, cyclist and drivers of high-sided vehicles – you are particularly vulnerable out there this morning. So unless your journey is absolutely essential we don’t want you to put yourselves or indeed the emergency services at risk by being out in the road.
We want to appeal also to people in the coastal areas, while it might be attractive to go to see some of these sights, you are putting yourself at serious risk by being in those areas …
We have gusts of up to 150 kmph arriving right now on our coasts, so be prepared.
We’d like to hear from you if you’ve been affected by Ophelia or any of the associated disruption.
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It’s a rapidly moving picture on the island of Ireland. In the last few minutes the Met Office in Northern Ireland has said the storm will now start battering the region around 12pm and adverse conditions will continue right up to midnight.
The Met Office said there would be “short, sharp bursts of winds” of up to 80mph in Northern Ireland but the mean wind speed for the whole day could be up to 50mph.
The wind is whipping up a sandstorm on a beach in Ballinspittle on the Cork coast, according to RTE’s Stephen Murphy.
The Met Office in Belfast has said conditions will be at their worst from around 3pm today across Northern Ireland.
It added that the storm will continue across the region until around 10pm tonight. So far 11 flights have been cancelled from Belfast City airport due to the storm.
And in central Belfast, St Patrick’s soup kitchen will open later this afternoon to shelter the city’s homeless from Storm Ophelia throughout the day.
In Derry some shops in the Foyleside shopping centre, including Debenhams, have closed for the day as the public in the city have been urged to stay indoors and not travel if at all possible.
The coming storm seems to have spooked the crows in Cork.
As Storm Ophelia barrels towards Ireland, the Irish president, Michael D Higgins, has issued an appeal for people to heed the warnings about the dangers it poses.
Speaking from Australia where he is on a state visit, Higgins said he hoped everyone “took the necessary precautions” to protect life and property when the storm reaches the Republic from the middle of the morning onwards.
Ireland’s transport minister, Shane Ross, has warned of huge disruption to the country’s transport network today.
Ross said he was urging the public not to travel if at all possible on Monday.
There are 140 flights cancelled from Ireland, Bus Éireann has announced all its school services are shut and the Garda Siochana have urged cyclists not to go out on their bikes today.
Colleges and schools in the Republic and Northern Ireland are all closed for the day, with the Irish weather service, Met Eireann, warning again today on RTE radio that Ophelia still has the “potential for hurricane force winds and hurricane force gusts”.
Ophelia is expected to the south and south-west of Ireland around 10am.
People in many parts of Ireland have been warned to stay indoors at various times of the day while the storm passes. A general warning not to cycle today is also in force from Transport for Ireland.
The bus service in Dublin has warned that all buses in the city will be withdrawn from 10am.
Waves of almost 27ft high have been recored south-west of Ireland as the storm heads towards landfall, Dave Throup a seasoned storm watcher from the UK’s Environment Agency notes.
No sign of any such waves near the Irish coast yet, but the wind is picking up according to RTE’s Brian O’Connell in Portmagee, on Ireland’s south-west coast.
This is Matthew Weaver with live coverage on the impact of ex-hurricane Ophelia which is due to make landfall in the next hour.
It is expected to batter Ireland and Northern Ireland with gusts of up to 80mph, threatening widespread disruption and life-threatening conditions.
The weather system has weakened from a hurricane to a tropical storm, but Ireland’s Met Office has issued a red weather warning, meaning potential danger to life.
Schools in Ireland have been closed along with many government buildings and courts.
Southern and western coasts are set to bear the initial brunt in the morning before it moves north. A rare warning of hurricane force 12 winds was issued in Monday’s shipping forecast for areas south and west of Ireland.
It said: “Severe gale nine to violent storm 11 occasionally hurricane force 12 at first in North Fitzroy, Sole, Fastnet and Shannon.”
An amber warning is in place for Northern Ireland, with the UK Met Office warning of potential power cuts, and disruption to transport and mobile phone reception. Flying debris such as roof tiles could be a danger to life, it said.
The storm has arrived 30 years and a day after the Great Storm of October 1987.
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