Hurricane Ophelia: Red wind warning extended across Ireland

Dublin: The Irish national meteorological service, Met Eireann, has upgraded the entire country to a status red wind alert over Hurricane Ophelia.

Earlier, a status red severe weather warning was issued for southern coastal counties with an orange alert for the rest of the country, Xinhua reported.

Met Eireann said on Sunday evening that Ophelia is forecast to track directly over Ireland during daytime Monday.

“Violent and destructive gusts are forecast with all areas at risk and in particular the southwest and south in the morning, and eastern counties in the afternoon. Also heavy rain and storm surges along some coasts will result in flooding,” it said.

Met Eireann said Ophelia is the most powerful hurricane to have ever been this far east in the Atlantic on record.

The Department of Education said all schools and colleges will be shut on Monday as Ophelia moves up over the country.

Members of the Irish Defence Forces are on standby in southern coastal counties of Cork, Galway, Kilkenny and Limerick as Ophelia nears the country. The units will be deployed if local authorities require their assistance.

The public has been advised to stay off the roads during the height of the storm if possible and to avoid coastal areas.

Cyclists have also been warned not to go out on their bike.

Drivers of high-sided vehicles and motorcyclists should also be aware of the extreme danger posed by gale force winds as they are particularly vulnerable, Irish Police said.