Former hurricane Ophelia kills 1, cuts power in Ireland

Storm Ophelia batters the Atlantic coast of Ireland in Lahinch village, County Clare, on Monday. Photo by Aidan Crawley/EPA-EFE

Oct. 16 (UPI) — A woman was killed as former Hurricane Ophelia hit the British Isles on Monday leaving more than 100,000 homes without power.

The woman, who was in her 20s, died after part of a tree collapsed onto her car, injuring another passenger as well.

The Irish Times reported 120,000 homes have lost power in mainly the southern part of the country. Officials say the storm is expected to cause the worst damage Ireland has seen in a half-century.

Ophelia was battering the Irish coast with heavy rainfall and violent winds. Affected areas include Counties Kerry, Cork, Tipperary, Waterford, Wexford and Limerick.

The Irish government said the storm would bring extraordinarily powerful winds, which had so far been recorded at speeds of up to 109 mph.

Ophelia, which is on its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean, comes 30 years after the Britain’s Great Storm of 1987 with forecasters warning“there is a danger to life and property.”

Northern Ireland Civil Service head David Sterling held an emergency meeting with all Irish government departments on Monday morning with all agreeing to activate emergency measures to ensure the public was “fully prepared.”

A status red warning was issued countrywide on Monday, with Met Éireann,the Irish meteorological service, urging residents to stay inside for the storm and avoid travel throughout the day.

Former U.S. President Bill Clinton postponed a trip to Northern Ireland to take part in an intervention in the region’s political stalemate. Officials said the visit may still take place on Tuesday.

All schools and colleges also were closed, along with banks and other government organizati. Emergency services were reduced and numerous outpatient procedures have been canceled.

“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,” Dr. Padraig McGarry, chairman of the Irish Medical Organization, said.


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