Hurricane Ophelia is sweeping havoc across Britain after claiming three lives in Ireland – where it also left 120,000 homes without power, ripped roofs off buildings and forced flights to land.
What could be its worst storm in 56 years caused havoc as it battered Wales and the west of England, and it is now moving its way across the UK.
Images in Manchester showed serious damage caused outside shops in the city’s Northern Quarter area, shop facades coming off and smashing down onto the crowded streets.
Several airbourne flights were forced to land at Liverpool John Lennon Aiport after ‘smoke smells’ were reported inside the cabin, which carriers British Airways, Easyjet and Auringy all confirmed were linked to the weather.
In Ireland, a woman in her 50s died when her car was struck by a falling tree in Waterford, while another tree killed a man in Ravensdale Dundalk, and a man in his 30s was killed in a chainsaw accident in County Tipperary.
The remnants of Ophelia, which made its way across the Atlantic Ocean, are resulting in ‘exceptional’ weather – exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.
Damage outside Slice in Stevenson Square in the Northern Quarter, Manchester this afternoon after a facade above a cafe called Chai Latte fell down in high winds
Tables and chairs were turned over in the chaos as the huge gusts swept over Manchester this afternoon. The facade fell at around 3.45pm
Crowds gaver to watch as massive waves crash over the lighthouse at Porthcawl, Wales, as storm Ophelia passes
A car drives through sea foam whipped up by the wind of Hurricane Ophelia at Trearddur Bay, in Holyhead, Wales, earlier today
The entire roof of a shop was ripped off in Sherbourne Street, Manchester. Part of the corrugated structure can be seen hanging from a tree
A Scout hut in Castle Douglas that lost its roof in the high winds – Strong winds and heavy rain have started to hit parts of Scotland
Huge waves whipped up by Hurricane Ophelia batter the coast at Porthleven in Cornwall this afternoon
Sahara Dust on top of a car in West Bay, Dorset as the tail end of Storm Ophelia hits the UK
A family risk getting swept into sea for the sake of a bit of fun on Dawlish seafront in Devon today
A woman and her dog get soaked as big waves crash into the Penzance seafront in Cornwall this afternoon
Surfers making the most of the storm surf generated by the high wind speeds on the tailend of Hurricane Ophelia at Langland Bay near Swansea this afternoon
Hurricane Ophelia is captured by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (Nasa) as seen from space today
The storm came from Ireland, where high winds caused the Derrynane Stand at Turners Cross Stadium, home of Cork City Football Club, to collapse today
But in South East England conditions were remarkably different, with the area enjoying the UK’s second warmest October day in the last six years. A woman is pictured here in a very calm St James’s Park, London
Motorists on the M77 in western Scotland faced lengthy tailbacks as a lorry overturned in high winds at about 8.30am and blocked the southbound lane for more than a hour.
But in South East England conditions were remarkably different, with the area enjoying the UK’s second warmest October day in the last six years as a high of 74.3F (23.5C) was recorded in Manston, Kent.
A yellow warning for high winds is in place for much of Wales, Scotland, north-east England, north-west England, south-west England and the West Midlands. Parts of Scotland and Wales have been upgraded to amber.
Forecasters have warned of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.
‘It will be gradually easing up into Scotland overnight and into Tuesday morning, it’s weakening as it goes,’ Met weather forecaster Grahame Madge said.
‘Parts of England, areas like the North West, are covered by a warning. The impacts will be felt in northern England into Tuesday.’
In Britain, the Met Office said Ophelia’s gusts are forecast to make it the UK’s strongest ex-tropical storm since Hurricane Katia in September 2011, which had 81mph low-level gusts and caused one death and travel chaos.
Winds of more than 81mph would make the storm Britain’s strongest ex-hurricane since Hurricane Lili’s 92mph gusts in 1996, said AccuWeather.
Meanwhile Brittany Ferries has announced it has abandoned today’s sailing between Plymouth and Roscoff. The Scillonian ferry service between Penzance in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly has also been cancelled.
Douglas Community School’s sports hall roof which was ripped off during Storm Ophelia in County Cork, Ireland
Winds batter the harbour as Hurricane Ophelia hits Cork, Ireland, in this still images obtained from a social media video
Three huge trees have fallen on Clontymon Lawn in Ballinlough, County Cork, with one hitting a car today
Corrugated iron has been blown across Pearse Street in Kinsale, County Cork, as Ireland is hit by 92mph winds today
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A couple decided to have their wedding photos done in the high winds on Ramore Head in Portrush, County Antrim
A loose trampoline is seen being blown away by strong winds as Hurricane Ophelia approaches in Cork, Ireland
A man take selfies in waves and high winds at Lahinch in County Clare on the West Coast of Ireland today
A woman surveys the scene as Ophelia begins to make landfall at Baltimore on the coast of County Cork in southern Ireland
Storm Ophelia batters the Atlantic coast of Ireland at Lahinch village in County Clare this afternoon
Tree damage across Ireland in Ballylangley, Bandon (left), and on the Killumney to Crossbarry Road (right) in County Cork
Ireland was hit by the worst of the weather, with schools closed, around 130 flights cancelled at Dublin Airport and 120,000 homes without power.
Gusts of up to 97mph hit Roche’s Point Lighthouse in Cork as Ireland’s schools closed early, flights were grounded and bridges were shut.
Troops were placed on standby in Ireland and many public services closed amid fears about the impact of winds. Elsewhere there were 1,300 customers without power in Northern Ireland and another 200 in Wales.
Irish Taoiseach Leo Varadkar has urged the public to stay safe, saying: ‘The advice is: stay indoors until the storm passes. Whether that is at work, in their home or some other home, stay indoors.
‘Check on neighbours and relatives. Bear in mind it is coming your way and it is a national red alert. It is a very dangerous storm. The last time there was a storm this severe 11 lives were lost.’
Rays of sunlight shine through dark clouds as storm Ophelia hits the County Clare town of Doonbeg in Ireland this morning
A woman walks her dog in the coastal village of Carrigaholt on the West Coast of Ireland as Hurricane Ophelia arrives today
Waves crash into the Longships Lighthouse at Land’s End in Cornwall, as high winds hit the area today
A ship at anchor off of Carrigaholt on the West Coast of Ireland as Ophelia hits the British Isles with gusts of up to 80mph
Waves crash against the shore at Baltimore in West Cork this morning as Ireland braces for wind gust speeds of up to 80mph
Dark clouds gather over the Irish Sea and Dublin as Ireland braces for the passing of the storm Ophelia
Ten-year-old cocker spaniel Lily (background) and two-year-old Italian Spinone Lottie on a windy walk in Land’s End, Cornwall
A man collects sandbags to protect homes from a storage shed on the Dublin Bay coast on the outskirts of the city
ESB, the Republic of Ireland’s electricity network, warned that more outages were expected and that repairs would take several days.
Met Eireann has issued a ‘status red’ weather alert for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry, warning of severe winds and stormy conditions.
Sarah Kavanagh, who lives in Cork, where the storm is hitting first, tweeted a video of birds flying away at about 8am, saying: ‘Ummmm… think they know there’s something big coming? #Ophelia #Mondays.’
Earlier today, thousands of people were stranded by Ophelia after cross-Channel ferry companies cancelled services because of dangerous sea conditions.
Irish government forecasters said the storm could be the most severe weather to hit the country since 1961 – when Hurricane Debbie made landfall.
Mr Varadkar said that the National Emergency Coordination Group will be meeting throughout the course of the day. Met Eireann said the strongest winds have not yet hit the country.
Trees and power lines were down across Kerry and Cork as the storm made its way across Ireland.
HMS Forth on the Firth of Clyde in choppy waters by Holy Loch in Argyll and Bute, Scotland, as the winds pick up today
A tree down by Hamilton High School in Bandon, County Cork, as strong winds approach the Republic of Ireland today
A tree down between Mount Uniake to Killeagh in County Cork in southern Ireland this morning as the storm approaches
A lighthouse is seen as storm Ophelia approaches South Stack in Anglesey, Wales, today
Emergency services are on the scene after a tree fell down in Maryborough, County Down, this morning
Trees down on the Carrigaline to Donnybrook Road (left) and a road blocked from Ballincollig to Blarney (right) in County Cork
The head of Corporate Affairs at ESB said earlier widespread power outages are expected.
In Ireland, schools, nurseries and colleges have been closed, court sittings postponed, numerous hospital outpatient appointments cancelled and the Defence Forces put on standby.
Businesses have been urged to consider whether opening would pose a risk to employees.
Schools have also been advised to close in Northern Ireland while many college classes have also been scrapped. The Lord Chief Justice also advised the judiciary to cease all court hearings at 12.30pm.
Across the island, many ferries, trains, buses and flights have been cancelled. The storm hit the south-west coast on Monday morning and is due to sweep up through the island.
Met Eireann has issued a status red weather warning across all of the Irish Republic. It has described the storm as the most powerful to have ever been this far east in the Atlantic on record.
Forecasters have warned of a potential threat to life and advised the public to stay off the roads and away from the coast during the height of the storm if possible.
Counties Galway, Mayo, Sligo and Donegal are bearing the brunt of the winds. The Met Office has issued an amber weather warning for Northern Ireland and warned of ‘potential danger to life’.
The differing severity of alerts north and south of the border is more due to differences in the way Met Eireann and the Met Office rate threats, rather than an indication that Northern Ireland will not be hit as hard.
In regard to Northern Ireland, the Met Office said: ‘There is a good chance that power cuts may occur, with the potential to affect other services, such as mobile phone coverage.
‘Flying debris is likely, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties. This leads to the potential for injuries and danger to life.’
Irish Defence Forces are on standby to deploy resources, including transport and engineering assets.
Yesterday, the Department of Education in Dublin said that all Irish schools, colleges and other education institutions are to stay closed today.
The decision was taken following a special meeting of the government task force on emergency planning.
Barrelling north: The hurricane is heading towards Ireland and today is set to hit with 80mph winds at 11am this morning
Potentially deadly: A satellite image from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration shows Ophelia overnight
This satellite image shows Ophelia over the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday. By the time it hits the UK it will bring 80mph winds
This satellite image issued yesterday afternoon shows Ophelia on Friday as it made its way towards the British Isles
This graphic shows the path of Ophelia as it makes its way towards the UK today and tomorrow
The storm follows a weekend of unseasonably warm weather with some areas in the South reaching high temperatures
Authorities in Northern Ireland have faced criticism after announcing closure advice to schools late on Sunday night, giving parents limited time to arrange childcare.
Some 30 years ago, weatherman Michael Fish famously told the UK that a hurricane ‘was not coming’ just hours before the country was battered by 115mph winds.
But the 73-year-old has now admitted that Hurricane Ophelia ‘looks nasty’ and said the timing of the storm was a ‘terrible coincidence’.
The gales today are set to batter the UK exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 which killed 22 people, destroyed around 15million trees and caused £2billion damage.
The whole of Ireland has been placed on a red alert as the storm continues to approach the country this morning.
It comes as swarms of deadly jellyfish have been seen washed up on beaches across the south coast after being blown ashore by the hurricane.
The UK Military of Defence has three battalions – 1,200 personnel in total – permanently on standby to assist with contingencies. But an MoD spokesman said it hasn’t yet received requests from any local authority for assistance.
In Ireland, schools, government buildings and courts are closing today, with the Met Office issuing severe weather alerts, warning of potential power cuts, and disruption to transport and mobile phone signals.
A yellow weather warning has been issued for much of the West of the UK with a more serious amber warning issued for Northern Ireland, which is expected to take the brunt of the storm.
Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said that while storms with these wind speeds tend to happen at this time of year, the one on its way is ‘quite a substantial system’, adding that he would describe it as ‘pretty exceptional’.
Mr Miall said Ophelia will have gone through a transition on its way across the Atlantic but will still bring ‘hurricane-force’ winds.
The Met Office also warned: ‘Some damage to buildings, such as tiles blown from roofs could happen, perhaps leading to injuries and danger to life from flying debris.’
A spokesman told MailOnline: ‘Hurricane Ophelia is slowly edging its way closer to us. The centre of the storm will hit south west Ireland first, at around 11am.
Families brave the high winds and huge waves on Newgale Beach in Pembrokeshire, West Wales, as Storm Ophelia hits today
A surfer makes the most of the choppy seas off of the coast of Bournemouth in Dorset as the stormy weather picks up
People on the beach as the stormy weather begins in Bournemouth in Dorset today
The sea is whipped into foam at Porthleven in Cornwall this morning
A man takes a swim at Sandycove on the Irish Sea coast in County Dublin this morning
‘There has been a red warning issued for the whole of the Republic of Ireland – which is something I’ve never seen before and there are likely to be 80mph winds there.
‘Later in the day there will be 70mph winds hitting west Wales and the Isle of Man. There will be potential flooding in south west Scotland and there could be some coastal issues because of the storm.’
Tomorrow, the windy weather is expected to spread across to the North and southern Scotland with a yellow warning remaining in place for these areas. The wind is expected to ease to sub-warning levels by the evening.
Meanwhile in the Republic of Ireland weather forecasters are warning of a potential threat to life as a red weather warning – the highest of its kind – was issued in several western states, including Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry. The rest of the country is on amber alert.
In Dublin the National Emergency Co-ordination Group met this morning to discuss preparations for the arrival of the storm while school bus services have been cancelled to ensure child safety in the five western counties.
Irish Defence Forces are on standby to deploy resources, including transport and engineering assets.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted: ‘Defence forces being deployed in Red weather alert areas and on standby for further action. Please check in with older neighbours and those who need medical care.’
The Irish Medical Organisation (IMO) has asked the public to avoid using GP services during the storm except for emergencies.
While hospital emergency departments remain open, the IMO has also urged the public to ensure that these are reserved for genuine emergencies.
Nick Dixon was battling the elements in County Kerry as Ophelia threatened to blow him away on ITV’s Good Morning Britain
A bright red sun glows in the sky over Bristol this morning ahead of the arrival of Ophelia over the British Isles
Martin Galvin and his son Adam prepared themselves for Ophelia yesterday at Courtmacsherry Bay near Cork, Ireland
In Kerry, Ireland, emergency response volunteers unload sandbags in preparation for the storm. Ireland could be hit the worst
Dr Padraig McGarry, chairman of the GP Committee of the IMO, said that while most GP surgeries will remain open today, they want to ensure GP members are free to deal with genuine emergency cases rather than with more routine business.
In respect of Emergency Departments of Hospitals, Dr Peadar Gilligan, chairman of the Consultant Committee said: ‘We expect emergency departments to be particularly busy over the coming 24 hours and we would urge the public to respect the fact that these should be reserved for genuine emergencies only.’
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 bikes.
The National Directorate for Fire and Emergency Management said the storm is expected to hit Kerry at 6am. The storm front will track northwards tonight, leaving Irish coastal waters before midnight.
Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport are advising passengers to check the latest flight information before travelling.
Meanwhile, airports are advising passengers in Ireland to check the latest information, with a number of Aer Lingus flights cancelled due to severe weather and the prospect of further cancellations with other carriers.
Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport are advising passengers to check the latest flight information before travelling to the airport, while Cork Airport said cancellations are likely.
Ryanair said: ‘We will inform customers in the event of any changes to our flight schedule and the latest flight information will be posted on the Ryanair.com website.’
Bus Eireann said it will not run School Transport Scheme services on Monday in the counties of Waterford, Wexford, Limerick, Cork, Kerry, Clare, Galway and Mayo.
In Scotland local airline Loganair is offering free flight changes on routes that could be hit by the severe weather conditions. The firm said, at the moment, it still intends operating a normal full schedule today and tomorrow.
Loganair managing director Jonathan Hinkles said: ‘Weather forecasts indicate that high winds and rain will impact the West of Scotland from Monday afternoon through to Tuesday lunchtime.
Members of Cork City Council hold a crisis management team meeting this morning ahead of Ophelia making landfall
Group chairman Sean Hogan speaks to the media after a meeting of the National Emergency Coordination group in Dublin
Met Eireann forecaster Evelyn Cusack at the meeting yesterday. Weather forecasters are warning of a potential threat to life
Winds move through Wales, around Glamorgan, Carmarthenshire and up through the north.
The storm is now raging over Ireland and Northern Ireland, and across North Wales, as well as southern and central England – including areas around Wiltshire, Gloucestershire and Oxfordshire.
By this time winds will be moving up the UK, travelling through the midlands into the north, around Cheshire and Derbyshire.
Now winds will start to hit the West of Scotland but the full extent won’t hit until midnight.
Gusts will be rushing through the north of England, with the extreme weather then travelling to Ireland and Northern Ireland.
The storm is then expected to batter Scotland and northern England.
‘The possibility of weather disruption to our flights is increased, and we’re therefore offering customers booked to travel on certain routes on Monday and Tuesday the opportunity to voluntarily re-arrange their travel without charge.
‘If you hold a confirmed reservation on any of these routes on Monday or Tuesday, you can change your reservation to any available Loganair flight within the next seven days.
‘There will be no change fee or difference in fare payable. If you’re booked to travel out on Monday or Tuesday, your return flight can also be changed.’
The storm follows a weekend of unseasonably warm weather across the British Isles with some areas in the South reaching highs of 71.7F (22C) on Saturday.
And the warm weather remained in the region yesterday with 69F (20.7C) temperatures in Suffolk.
The persistent winds have already caused huge numbers of jellyfish to be washed up on beaches from Bournemouth in Dorset to Barmouth in North Wales.
In Sussex, Devon, Somerset, Cornwall and south Wales dozens have been spotted being blown ashore in the winds.
A spokesman for the Sussex Wildlife Trust said: ‘The gas-filled bladder acts as a sail. Their long tentacles can result in a painful sting so please don’t touch if you see one.’
The Portuguese man o’ war, which is not a jellyfish but a colonial organism, has tentacles reaching out an incredible 160ft (49 metres).
Despite its similar appearance, the Portuguese man o’ war isn’t actually a jellyfish. It is a siphonophore – a type of an animal that is made up of a colony of organisms working together.
Dr Peter Richardson, head of ocean recovery at the Marine Conservation Society, said: ‘Portuguese man o’ war are ocean-going animals, propelled by the wind on their inflatable sail as they fish the depths with their stinging tentacles.
A deadly Portuguese man o’ war washed up on a beach near Shoreham-by-Sea in West Sussex
A Sea Trust Wales spokesman said: ‘Children need to be made aware that these dangerous but attractive animals are capable of giving an extremely powerful sting’
Experts have issued warnings to stay away from the Portuguese man o’ war as their tentacles can deliver a sting fatal to humans
The Portuguese man o’ war, which is not a jellyfish but a colonial organism, has tentacles reaching out an incredible 160ft
TIMELINE OF HURRICANE OPHELIA’S JOURNEY TO UK
It lurks inches below the surface and just one sting can leave a swimmer in agony and even kill a small child.
A Sea Trust Wales spokesman said: ‘Children need to be made aware that these dangerous but attractive animals are capable of giving an extremely powerful sting and dog owners need to keep their pets well away.
‘Surfers will also be vulnerable wherever exposed skin such as their faces may come into contact with long stinging tentacles.’
Experts are predicting more could be washed up with the approaching storm set to hit the country.
People enjoy the autumn sunshine and warmer temperatures at Kensington Gardens in London this afternoon
Xanthe Lewis-Hall, two, and her mother walk through a tunnel of trees on an old Roman road in Halnaker, West Sussex, today
A silhouette of a tree overlays a gorgeous sunrise at Castle Hill near Huddersfield yesterday morning as if paint had been daubed across the sky
Victoria Tower overlooka a grogeous skyline yesterday morning light as the sunrises from Castle Hill near Huddersfield, Yorkshire
‘It’s the tentacle-like polyps that can give an agonising and potentially lethal sting. Recent persistent winds have blown them from the Atlantic onto our shores.
Top UK temperatures for October
2017: 23.5C (Manston, Kent, today)
2016: 22.2C (Trawscoed, Dyfed; 31st)
2015: 22.7C (Braemar, Highlands; 1st)
2014: 23.6C (Gravesend, Kent; 31st)
2013: 23C (Skegness, Lincs; 8th)
2012: 18.8C (Holbeach, Lincs; 1st)
2011: 29.9C (Gravesend, Kent; 1st)*
* Highest on record in UK for October
‘Because a stranded Portuguese man o’ war looks a bit like a deflating purple balloon with blue ribbons attached, children will find it fascinating bug the stings can be unbelievably painful and in rare cases, fatal.’
He said the sudden invasion is now the biggest mass Portuguese man o’ war stranding since 2012.
Anyone who spots a Portuguese man o’ war on the beach has been asked to report the sighting to the Marine Conservation Society website so a more accurate picture of the invasion can be formed.
Meanwhile, bookmaker Coral cut the odds on this month being the wettest October on record in the UK into evens (from 3-1) following a flurry of bets yesterday morning.
The firm is offering 6-4 that the wind speed reaches as high as 100mph in mainland UK next week and 2-1 for there to be snowfall in October.
Ophelia hits on 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987: The force of nature that decimated the British Isles… after a TV weatherman famously told worried viewers ‘don’t worry, there isn’t one coming’
The Great Storm of 1987 (pictured) hit southern England overnight on October 15 and caused damage estimated at £1billion
The storm in 1987 brought unprecedented levels of destruction that swept across Britain. Pictures is a caravan park that has been wrecked by the powerful storm
A man and woman walk past a tree in London that was uprooted by the powerful winds during the frightening storm of 1987
Life carried on as normal as bus passengers get on with their day amid a scene of destruction wrought by the powerful 1987 storm
The storm of 1987, which struck overnight on October 15, brought winds of up to 100mph and led to 18 deaths.
BBC weatherman Michael Fish has never lived down his forecast assuring Britons that a hurricane was not heading our way.
Some 15million trees were uprooted, trains derailed, and parts of the country plunged into darkness as pylons were toppled.
Weather expert Dennis Mersereau said the UK was ‘in line for a rough couple of days’ as Ophelia rolls through, with the possibility of power cuts, fallen trees and flooding.
BBC weatherman Michael Fish has never lived down his forecast assuring Britons that a hurricane was not heading our way
A wrecked garden strew wood across this garden in London in 1987, left, and right, a police office inspects damage to a building in Soho Square in 1987
An elderly woman walks past a scene of devastation following the 1987 storm. Ophelia is feared to be one of the worst storms to strike Britain in 10 years
Writing on the website Popular Science, he described it as a ‘weird’ storm, having formed out in the Atlantic ‘where hurricanes usually go to die’.
Alex Burkhill, a Met Office forecaster, said cold sea temperatures mean Ophelia will not be strong enough to be categorised as a hurricane when it hits Britain.
But it will certainly bring an abrupt end to what is expected to be a warm weekend during which temperatures could hit 72ºF today and 75ºF across the South tomorrow, with similarly unseasonal figures further north. Temperatures in London could potentially be up to 10C above the average for October.