Tuesday, October 17, 2017

ex-Hurricane Ophelia batters Ireland

Storm track predicted by NOAA NWS
Hurricane Ophelia, the 15th named storm of 2017 and the 10th consecutive Atlantic hurricane, devastates on the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987. Ophelia lost tropical storm status as it came ashore in Cork, but retained hurricane force winds. It has caused three known deaths and cut power to 260,000 homes and businesses.

Ophelia became a 'rare' Category 3 storm south of the Azores, which it skirted on its path towards Ireland. About 220 miles south of the Azores on October 14, Hurricane Ophelia strengthened into a Category 3 hurricane, the farthest east that a major hurricane has ever been in the Atlantic. The previous record was held by Frances in 1980. Only 15 hurricanes have passed within 200 nautical miles of the Azores since monitoring began in 1851. It was downgraded to a category 1 storm from category 3 on the 15th of October, weakening throughout the day before coming ashore in Ireland on the morning of the 16th.

As it hit Cork and then Kerry, it did a considerable amount of damage, mostly due to downed trees. People in Ireland kept their humour like only the Irish can do. We were spared the worst in Mayo. Somehow, although the eye wall passed right over us, we didn't get that much wind. Galway just South of us had some damage and Donegal to the North had extensive damage due to flooding. We had a lot of rain and a very high tidal surge so our road was under water, but otherwise we were unscathed. 

Three people lost their lives when trees fell on them. My heart goes out to their loved ones. 

Alex drove to his mothers house afterwards with chain saw in hand but there wasn't even a branch lost. I went searching for the donkeys in the field behind our house. They are fairly delicate beasties. When I eventually found them huddled together in the lower field, they were fine. A bit muddy but okay. Friendly as ever. Ilene had to lean on me as usual. I brought them beans to munch.

Hurricane Ophelia was unusual in that it developed so far east to begin with. It was also previously unheard of for a hurricane take a south-to-north track directly across Ireland. Most storms come at us from the west and cross over to the east. Fortunately, sufficient warning and accurate forecasting encouraged storm preparedness. In fact, I was amazed at the excellent coverage the new media gave it. One weatherman stayed on the radio for hours advising panicking people what to expect in their immediate vicinity. Personalized forecasting. I was very proud of my country. Everyone has handled themselves exceedingly well.

2017 has shaped up as an unusually active hurricane season, and it is not yet over. Officially, hurricane season continues through November 30.

Made landfall in Cork

Eye passing over Clew Bay
Ophelia viewed from space

Amazing plume of warm moisture

Doesn't even show on the NWS map

Tide over our road

Irish humour

More Irish humour

Ophelia brought attention to Ireland as the centre of the earth

Another image from space shows how it pulled smoke from Iberian fires
Smoke and Sahara dust caused red sky in England 

Skies ranged from sepia tinted ...
...to otherwordly.

The sun glowed red in London.
And the donkeys were okay.

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