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Fresh warnings as powerful storm heads to UK

October 15, 2017 4:00 pm

The Met Office has issued Northern Ireland with an amber weather warning as Hurricane Ophelia continues across the Atlantic towards the British Isles.

The warning of “potential danger to life” came as the Republic of Ireland called a national emergency meeting.

Ophelia, on its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, is currently blowing winds of 90mph (145km/h).

The hurricane will be a storm when it hits the UK, exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.

It has been downgraded to a category one hurricane by the US National Hurricane Center and is forecast to continue gradually weakening.

The weather system is expected to bring severe winds and stormy conditions to parts of Ireland and the UK, with winds of up to 70mph (113km/h).

The Met Office said there was a “good chance” Northern Ireland could be hit on Monday afternoon by power cuts, flying debris, large waves in coastal areas and disruption to all travel services.

It also issued a yellow warning of “very windy weather”, which it updated later on Sunday morning to take in much of northern England and Wales, along with parts of southern and central Scotland.

Three battalions of soldiers are on permanent stand-by to deal with major incidents in the UK, but the Ministry of Defence said no specific requests had yet been made of them by local authorities.

The Republic of Ireland’s Met Office has issued a red warning for Wexford, Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork, Kerry, Limerick and Waterford.

It predicts coastal areas will be hit by winds in excess of 80mph (130km/h) from 09:00 BST on Monday until Tuesday and is warning against unnecessary travel.

Gerald Fleming, head of its general forecasting division, told Irish broadcaster RTE: "The track is very consistent [and] has been for days.

“The strongest winds [will be] along the south coast.