The Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland are experiencing some of the most extreme weather the island has seen in decades as the aftermath of Hurricane Ophelia strikes.
Schools and hospitals are closed, many public transport and aviation services have ceased operations and the army has been sent to shore-up flood defenses in what has been called an “unprecedented storm” by Ireland’s meteorological office.
Ophelia has accelerated on its way to the United Kingdom, moving at 38 mph, the hurricane center said in its 5 p.m. ET advisory. Though the hurricane is expected to weaken at landfall on a predicted path to Scotland, the center’s message remained the same.
“Preparations to protect lives and property should be rushed to completion by this afternoon,” an earlier Sunday advisory said.
Ophelia weakened from a Category 3 to a Category 2 hurricane early Sunday, with sustained winds of 105 mph.
The center said Ophelia’s gale force winds were expected in southern Ireland by early Monday, spreading gradually north across the country during the day. Hurricane-force winds are forecast to arrive by Monday afternoon, spreading inland and to parts of the United Kingdom on Monday night.