The remnants of Hurricane Ophelia slammed into Ireland with wind gusts of up to 80mph on Monday, killing at least three people, grounding planes, shutting schools, and causing widespread power outages. Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar urged people to stay indoors until the storm passed. Tens of thousands of homes were without power and the military was placed on standby. Hurricane-force gusts were reported 30 years to the day after a weather event dubbed the "Great Storm of 1987" battered southern England, the AP reports. "It is a very dangerous storm," Varadkar said. "The last time there was a storm this severe, 11 lives were lost," he added, referring to Hurricane Debbie, which hit Ireland in 1961.
Ophelia has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, though Ireland's National Emergency Coordination Group on Severe Weather warned that the storm is still "unprecedented, with serious life-threatening conditions." Ireland's weather service, Met Eireann, described the storm as the most powerful on record to have ever been this far east in the Atlantic. Large waves around coastal districts tossed sand and rocks onto coastal roads, seafronts, and properties. In parts of the UK and northern France, the sky turned an eerie color as Ophelia's winds carried a mix of sand from the Sahara and particles from fires in Spain and Portugal.