The latest storm of this hurricane season, Hurricane Ophelia, is on track to hit Ireland by Monday.
Currently bringing peak winds of 115 miles per hour, and located Saturday 220 miles south of the Azores Islands off of Portugal, Ophelia is something of an anomaly.
Ophelia was downgraded from a Category 3 to a Category 1 as of Sunday, but it is the furthest east that any Category 3 storm has formed in the Atlantic (the previous eastern-most storm was in 1980), and since 1851, it’s also the farthest northeast any major hurricane has formed.
— Jim Roberts (@nycjim) October 15, 2017
According to CNN, the storm has intensified in a part of the Atlantic that is typically much cooler than where major hurricanes form.
Irish meteorologists are predicting huge waves off of Southern Ireland and significant storm surge that will result in coastal flooding, as swell charts show offshore waves at 42 feet high. So far, the south, southwest and west of the country look like they will bear the brunt of the storm, including counties Waterford, Cork, Kerry, Galway and Mayo.
Swell charts for Monday show massive waves off S Ireland/SW UK. Offshore 13m/42ft waves. Major coastal impacts where exposed to S'ly fetch. pic.twitter.com/23nigMHbC7
— Garry Nicholson (@WeatherEagle) October 14, 2017
“Preparations to protect lives and property should be taken today if possible,” Irish Meteorological service Met Eireann warned. Met Eirann issued its highest level wind warning ahead of the storm.
Ophelia is the sixth major hurricane in the Atlantic this year. The only two years that have seen seven such storms in the Atlantic were 1961 and 2005. The storm is set to be the most severe weather event to hit Ireland since the 1961 hurricane season, when Hurricane Debbie struck Ireland and claimed 15 lives.
The storm is on track to hit Scotland sometime between Monday night and Tuesday morning. All of Ireland’s schools and colleges will be closed Monday as a result of the storm.