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Storm Ophelia hits Ireland, prompting first ever severe weather alert for the entire country

Storm Ophelia hits Ireland, prompting first ever severe weather alert for the entire country


One woman has been killed

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Hurricane Ophelia Hits The UK
Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

There’s one more event to add this to record-breaking hurricane season: a hurricane has hit Ireland, leading to the first-ever severe weather alert for the entire country.

Extratropical Storm Ophelia made landfall over the weekend, killing three so far. Ophelia was a post-tropical storm by the time it hit, but earlier in the weekend it was a Category 3 hurricane — and the easternmost Category 3 Atlantic hurricane on record. The Irish National Meteorological Service, Met Éireann, warned that the storm would be “a danger to life and property.” Lower wind speeds don’t change that: most of the damage from hurricanes comes from flooding.

Hurricanes are created from warm tropical oceans. Since the water on the other side of the Atlantic tends to be colder, European hurricanes are rare compared to their American counterparts. From 1851 to 2010, only 10 of these storms hit within 200 miles of Ireland, but they may become more common as the oceans warm up.

"Ophelia is breaking new ground for a major hurricane," National Hurricane Center scientist Eric Blake tweeted. “Typically those waters much too cool for anything this strong."

Right now about 120,000 homes in the Irish Republic don’t have power, according to the BBC, which also reported that the government has deployed the army.

Ophelia is the latest hurricane in an unusual season. It’s the 10th Atlantic hurricane this season; the last time there were this many was in 1893. Plus, the last time a hurricane this powerful hit Ireland was 1961.

Meanwhile, Puerto Rico is still suffering from Hurricane Maria, and has resorted to contaminated water at Dorado Superfund site. Similarly, over in Texas, toxic waste has been seeping from a Houston Superfund site after Hurricane Harvey's floods.

Updated: This story has been updated with the death toll.