Hurricane Ophelia Hits the British Isles


NASA/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons

An satellite image of Hurricane Ophelia.

Earlier last week, the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia, the easternmost major Atlantic Hurricane on record, collided with Ireland and Britain. Ireland bore the brunt of the storm and its coast was battered by strong winds and waves. By the end of the storm, over 360,000 Irish citizens lost power and the Irish central government declared a state of national emergency. Three people were killed in storm-related incidents.

The storm’s powerful winds caused railroad service delays throughout the country because downed trees made crucial railroad corridors impassable. Hundreds of inbound and outbound Irish flights were also cancelled due to hazardous weather conditions.

The storm pulled in dust from as far as the African Sahara Desert, as well as charred debris from wildfires in Portugal and Spain. In parts of the United Kingdom, the storm’s debris caused skies to appear orange and caused the Sun to appear red, leaving many United Kingdom citizens stunned.

Normally, the North Atlantic would not be an ideal area for a hurricane to form. Hurricanes require a surface water temperature of around 80 degrees Fahrenheit and, generally, the region’s water is much colder; however, strong southerly winds ahead of the storm brought temperatures up to 77 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing the hurricane to sustain itself. The storm’s record setting easterly location raised international concerns about climate change, since many scientists around the world were puzzled about the cause of such a storm in such a place. 

Sources: Smithsonian Magazine, The Sun, The Washington Post, Huffington Post

Photo Source: NASA/NOAA via Wikimedia Commons