Hurricane Ophelia is set to batter the UK and Ireland with gusts of up to 80mph, posing a danger to life and threatening travel chaos.
The Met Office issued severe weather alerts, warning of potential power cuts and disruption to transport and mobile phone signal, while airports are advising passengers in Ireland to check the latest information.
The tropical storm has made its way across the Atlantic and Ophelia’s remnants are set to reach home shores today, resulting in “exceptional” weather – exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 18 people.
Northern Ireland is covered with an amber warning – meaning that there is a “potential risk to life and property”, issued when forecasters believe that people need to be prepared to change their plans and to protect themselves from the impacts of severe weather.
READ MORE: Queensferry Crossing open in high winds when ‘Forth Road Bridge would close’
Very windy weather is expected across the entire region, while a yellow warning is in place for much of Scotland, Wales, north-east England, north-west England, south-west England and the West Midlands.
Forecasters are warning of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.
“This leads to the potential for injuries and danger to life,” the Met Office said.
Heavy rain is also possible in western Scotland and parts of Northern Ireland.
Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said that while storms with these wind speeds tend to happen at this time of year, the one on its way is “quite a substantial system”, adding that he would describe it as “pretty exceptional”.
Mr Miall said Ophelia will have gone through a transition on its way across the Atlantic and will no longer be a hurricane, but will still bring “hurricane-force” winds.
Met Eireann have issued a “status red” weather alert for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry, warning of severe winds and stormy conditions.
Taoiseach Leo Varadkar tweeted yesterday: “Defence forces being deployed in Red weather alert areas and on standby for further action tomorrow.
“Please check in with older neighbours and those who need medical care.”
Dublin Airport and Shannon Airport are advising passengers to check the latest flight information before travelling to the airport.
Cork Airport said that cancellations are likely, adding: “We ask all passengers to check flight status with their airline and to avoid travelling to
@CorkAirport on Mon unless absolutely necessary.”
Responding to passengers’ questions, Aer Lingus said it is monitoring the situation closely and that so far no changes have been made to its schedule.
In Scotland, Loganair is offering free flight changes on routes that could be hit by the severe weather conditions. The airline said that at the moment it still intends operating a normal full schedule today and tomorrow.
The UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) has three battalions – 1,200 personnel in total – on standby to assist with contingencies.
Meanwhile, bookmaker Coral cut the odds on this month being the wettest October on record in the UK into evens (from 3-1) following a flurry of bets yesterday.
The firm is offering 6-4 that the wind speed reaches as high as 100mph in mainland UK next week and 2-1 for there to be snowfall in October.
READ MORE: Scotland’s weather: Hurricane Ophelia to blast coastal areas