Hurricane Ophelia is expected to strike Ireland and the United Kingdom with sustained winds up to 100 miles an hour. The National Hurricane Center says that gale force winds were expected to spread across southern Ireland by early Monday, then gradually extend north across the country during the day. Hurricane-force winds are forecast to arrive by Monday afternoon.
As the storm races north at 35 miles an hour, it has weakened from category 3 to category 2. Unusually warm Atlantic water temperatures and record and near-record seasonal highs across Europe have enabled the storm to take its highly unusual track. The last major hurricane to strike Ireland was Charley in 1986. Charley struck Ireland and the British Isles with 50MPH winds and significant wave action of up to 26 feet in the Irish Sea.