COMING SOON: Ex hurricane Ophelia

  • Graphic from NOAA showing a satellite image of Hurricane Ophelia.

    Graphic from the National Hurricane Center showing the expected track of Ophelia.

  • COMING SOON: Ex hurricane Ophelia
    14.10.2017 17:00


    Meet Ophelia…

    2017 has been a particularly active hurricane season in the Atlantic, with 10 consecutively named hurricanes. The hurricane that meteorologists are currently keeping a keen eye on has this afternoon reached category 3 strength and is known as Ophelia. Category 3 means that wind speeds are sustained between 111-129 mph. However as the storm continues to track northwards over cooler waters then it will start to lose its intensity and undergo extra tropical transition. Therefore it will no longer be a hurricane when it reaches the surrounding UK waters.

    Is this normal?

    The location where Ophelia originated is creating a lot of interest, as Ophelia formed in the east Atlantic. This is unusual as most hurricanes usually go to this region to die, not to develop. The east Atlantic has cooler waters which are not a favourable ingredient for hurricane development. Most hurricanes begin their life over the warmer tropical waters of the Atlantic and then make landfall over America or track across the cooler waters of the Atlantic and decay.

    What will be the impacts?

    Some high rainfall totals are expected, particularly across western Ireland and western Scotland. However, it is the winds that will be the most hazardous feature and Ireland, Scotland and western coasts of Britain are expected to bear the brunt of this storm. At the moment the weather models have good alignment that the storm will move towards the Republic of Ireland. This could lead to damage in some areas and the Irish Meteorological Service (Met Eireann) have currently issued a red warning for wind speeds in excess of 80kph (50mph) and winds gusts in excess of 130kph (80mph) for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry. Dangerous marine conditions are also expected and disruptions are possible too. However, a deviation in the track of the storm could alter where these maximum gusts occur. For many areas of the UK (particularly the south) the storm will feed in warmer air from more tropical southerly latitudes and this will be reflected in unseasonably warm conditions. Temperatures could peak at around 23C on Sunday and possibly 25C on Monday, these hot spots are expected in the south-east. On Tuesday the remnants of Ophelia will move closer to Scotland and therefore another wet and windy day is expected for Scotland, Ireland and western parts of the UK, but these winds should ease later in the day.

    In summary, if you are in Ireland, Scotland or western parts of the UK… then stay weather aware over the next few days. However if you are in the south or east, then perhaps head outdoors and embrace those warmer temperatures… before winter knocks on the door.




    By: Sabrina Lee