By David Meyer
October 16, 2017

Precisely three decades after the Great Storm of 1987, the U.K. and Ireland are bracing for the impact of what’s left of Hurricane Ophelia.

“Ex-Ophelia” formed in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Africa and became a Category 3 hurricane. It has since been downgraded to a tropical storm—though still the worst storm to hit Ireland in half a century, according to the BBC. The Irish weather office is predicting winds of more than 80 mph.

Ireland is making heavy preparations, with the army being deployed to red alert areas such as Wexford, Galway, and Cork. Ex-Ophelia is set to land around 10 a.m local time, hitting Northern Ireland on Monday afternoon and Scotland in the early hours of Tuesday.

The embattled low-cost airline Ryanair, which is based in Ireland, has had to cancel dozens of flights in and out of Dublin, Cork, Shannon, and Knock.

KLM, too, has had to cancel some flights to and from Dublin and Belfast, and Aer Lingus has cancelled flights via Cork.

The British Met Office has issued an “amber alert” weather warning for Northern Ireland and parts of Wales, saying there may be cuts to power and, if telecommunications networks’ cell towers are affected, mobile connectivity. Flying debris is likely.

However, the east of England will by contrast have almost summery weather, thanks to warm air brought by Ex-Ophelia.

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