Ireland dispatched its armed forces to bolster flood defences on Sunday and warned people against non-essential travel as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia threatened the country with its worst storm in 50 years.
Ophelia, the sixth major hurricane of the Atlantic season, is due to make landfall on the south west coast of Ireland at around 0500 GMT on Monday, the Irish weather service said, describing the storm as “unprecedented.”
Hurricane force winds are likely off Ireland’s south coast but they are expected to ease before they reach the coastline, said the weather service, which has declared a Status Red weather alert.
The weather service has warned some gusts may exceed 130 kilometres per hour (80 miles per hour).
The government has also warned of localised coastal flooding and likely disruption to transport and electricity services.
Members of the armed forces have been sent to Tralee on the south west coast to build coastal defences with sandbags.
Britain’s meteorological service said in a statement that the weather system may effect road, rail, air and ferry services.
British media are comparing the storm to the Great Storm of 1987, which subjected parts of the United Kingdom to hurricane strength winds 30 years ago to the day.
Source: News agencies