Feeling the force of Ophelia

The BBC and the Met Office have issued an amber weather warning for Souuth-West Scotland as ex-Hurricane Ophelia made landfall this evening

As this ex-hurricane batters south west Scotland the BBC issues the following weather warning this morning:

“A spell of very windy weather is expected today in association with ex-Ophelia. 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 the extreme southwest of Scotland.

“Ex-Ophelia will move northwards across the west of Ireland today bringing some very strong winds to Northern Ireland along with parts of north and west Wales and the extreme southwest of Scotland. Gusts of 55-65 mph are expected widely with 80 mph gusts likely in places. A smaller area of very gusty winds is then likely to run across Northern Ireland from the west with 65-75 mph gusts possible for a short period of time in any one location. Winds are expected to peak across Northern Ireland and north and west Wales this afternoon including this evening’s busy travel period and to peak across southwest Scotland this evening.”

Met Office chief forecaster Steve Ramsdale said: “By the time Ophelia reaches our latitudes, she will be weakening and will be an ex-hurricane. However, Ex-Ophelia will be bringing some significant impacts to Northern Ireland and western and northern Britain on Monday and Tuesday. On the basis of the latest information we have issued an Amber wind warning for Northern Ireland for the most intense period of winds between 3pm and 10pm on Monday. During this period we can expect wind gusts in excess of 60 mph with a chance of 80 mph gusts for the southeast of Northern Ireland.

“Yellow wind warnings, which were first issued on Thursday, cover Northern Ireland and western and northern Britain from 12noon on Monday until midnight. While on Tuesday a separate Yellow wind warning has been issued from a period extending until 3pm on Tuesday for Northern Ireland, northern England and the southern half of Scotland.”

Hurricane Ophelia, which developed southwest of the Azores, had reached Category 3 status. When it turns north-east across the North Atlantic, Ophelia will lose energy as she passes over cooler waters. Before reaching the British Isles the system will lose its tropical characteristics and will no longer be classified as a hurricane. However, it will still have sufficient energy to produce impacts, such as very strong winds and heavy seas, leading to dangerous conditions in exposed locations.

Matt Crofts is a Lifesaving Manager with the RNLI. He said: “The severe weather which is due to hit parts of the UK and Ireland early next week could make our seas particularly dangerous and unpredictable, with large waves and swells being a major risk.

“Stormy conditions may be tempting to watch but big waves can easily knock you off your feet. The sea is far more powerful than you think and your chances of survival are slim if you are dragged into the swell. Our volunteer lifeboat crews will always launch to rescue those in danger at sea, but to launch into conditions like these could also put their lives at risk.

“We understand why people want to experience extreme weather, but it’s not worth risking your life, so we strongly urge people to respect the water and watch from a safe distance. If you see someone else in trouble in the water, call 999 and ask for the Coastguard. Don’t enter the water yourself as you could also end up in serious danger.”