Woman killed as Storm Ophelia batters Ireland

As Ophelia battered the Atlantic coast of Ireland in Lahinch village, County Clare, yesterday, Britain's met service put an Amber Weather Warning into effect for Northern Ireland, saying the storm posed a danger to life.
As Ophelia battered the Atlantic coast of Ireland in Lahinch village, County Clare, yesterday, Britain's met service put an Amber Weather Warning into effect for Northern Ireland, saying the storm posed a danger to life.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

LAHINCH (Ireland) • A woman died as Tropical Storm Ophelia battered Ireland's southern coast yesterday, knocking down trees and power lines and whipping up 10m waves.

About 210,000 homes and businesses were without electricity, with more outages expected, and almost 150 flights were cancelled at Ireland's two main airports in Dublin and Shannon.

The woman in her mid-20s was killed by a tree falling on her car in the south-eastern county of Waterford, police said. A female passenger in her 50s was injured.

The storm, downgraded from a hurricane overnight, was the worst to hit Ireland in half a century. It made landfall after 9.40am GMT (5.40pm Singapore time), the Irish National Meteorological Service said, with winds as strong as 176kmh hitting the most southerly tip of the country. Flooding was likely.

"These gusts are life-threatening. Do not be out there," the chairman of Ireland's National Emergency Coordination Group Sean Hogan said on national broadcaster RTE.

Schools, hospitals and public transport services were closed and the armed forces were sent to bolster flood defences. Photos on social media showed the roof of a stand at Cork City football club's Turner's Cross stadium had collapsed.

Hurricane-force winds are expected in every part of the country, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said, advising people to stay indoors. Ireland's transport minister said it was not safe to drive.

 
 
 

"While the storm in some parts of the country is not yet that bad, it is coming your way," Mr Varadkar told a news conference as the storm began to make its way across the country.

Britain's meteorological service put an Amber Weather Warning into effect for Northern Ireland, saying the storm posed a danger to life and was likely to cause transport cancellations, power cuts and flying debris.

British media are comparing Ophelia to the "Great Storm" of 1987, which subjected parts of the United Kingdom to hurricane-strength winds 30 years ago to the day.

The storm is expected to move towards western Scotland overnight.

The Irish government said the storm is likely to be the worst since Hurricane Debbie, which killed 11 in Ireland in 1961.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 17, 2017, with the headline 'Woman killed as Storm Ophelia batters Ireland'. Print Edition | Subscribe