What a storm. Bizarre hurricane, dangerous gusts & waves and that sky! Ophelia
Depending on where you were across the British Isles #Ophelia brought gales and damaging gusts, wild, stormy weather with driving rain and violent seas or by comparison, orange skies with a strange red sun, real warmth and an ominous day darkness. It was also the 30th anniversary of the Great '87 Storm.
As trees fell, 3 people were killed in Ireland with thousands of homes left without power. Flights were cancelled, as were many bus services. All the school in Ireland and Northern Ireland were closed which continues into a second day as damage inspections take place with attempts to restore power. ESB said around 245,000 homes remain without power, down from 330, 000 during Monday. RTE News
The power interruptions have had knock effects for water services. Some treatment plants and pumping stations did have reservoir storage and backup generators but with roads blocked by fallen trees in the south, crews were unable to get through to carry out repairs. Around 200,000 households remain without water due to burst mains. Even for those with water Boil Water Notices have been issued in places as the power failures impact the disinfection of water plants.
As post tropical Ophelia clears away from NE Britain on Tuesday, the impacts will take days or weeks to fix. Roofs were ripped off schools and stadium, part of the reason the school children get another day off, to check for structural damage and await the power and/or water supplies.
Any gust over 73mph can be described as hurricane-force. Gwynedd had gusts of winds 90mph 78 knots with severe gales/storm force mean winds for western Wales, the Isle of Man and the Peak District. Up in the Cumbria Fells a gust of 99mph was recorded. Co Down saw a gust of 71mph, Ronaldsway 78mph.
Following the bizarre track of Ophelia during the week, we saw a cat 3 major hurricane far NE in the Atlantic from the usual breeding grounds, the furthest east ever recorded major hurricane. It managed to hold onto its hurricane status uncomfortably near to the British Isles and then underwent its transition to a post tropical low, ready to move over Ireland.
All of Ireland had been put on Red Alert for the strength of the winds, Amber warnings were issued for Northern Ireland by Sunday night and on Monday morning these were extended to include Wales, the Isle of Man and SW Scotland. Yellow Wind warnings of severe weather also covered other parts of Britain. Disruption and damage continue today for Scotland and NE England with train disruption, trees down, a derelict building has collapsed in Glasgow and flood warnings continue due to heavy rain in the NW and coastal impacts of the storm.
Coastguards had continued to warn people to stay away from shorelines as the wild conditions continued.
Ophelia wasn’t all about damage and gales. It was strangely warm, Kent, Norfolk and Suffolk all saw temperatures over 23C (73F) on Monday. What huge amounts of people did notice, was the sky. #RedSun and #YellowSky resulted in lots of photos on social media of the strange celestial colourings.
Gloom and an orangey yellow tinge with periods of near day darkness. The sun did look reddish and it was all linked to Ophelia. Ahead of the low-pressure centre, very warm air was being drawn up from western Europe and even northern Africa. This air included Saharan dust and smoke particles from the Iberian wildfires, which are raging in parts of Portugal and NW Spain. Cars and windows are now covered in muck thanks to all these extra tiny particles.
There is still a strong wind warning for eastern Scotland and NE England on Tuesday, as the low pressure pull away towards Norway. The forecast charts show more low pressure lining up from the Atlantic, usual extra-tropical/mid-latitude ones, so autumn can carry on with it's wet and windy bouts.