This year has been one for the record books when it comes to hurricanes. The Caribbean and southern United States saw Harvey, Irma, Jose and Maria completely decimate islands, destroy homes and leave millions without basic resources. We may have thought the freak weather was over with for the season, but now there’s a new hurricane threat, and it’s way farther north (and east) than you would expect. Hurricane Ophelia just made landfall in Ireland and its strong winds will effect the U.K. for the next few days.
— NASA (@NASA) October 16, 2017
Two people were killed in separate incidents when the hurricane-force winds knocked trees down on their cars and a third died trying to remove debris. Over 360,000 people in Ireland and Whales have lost power and the high winds have damaged a number of buildings, including an Irish football stadium.
Ophelia is the most eastern storm in the Atlantic basin since 1980 and the worst in the area since 1961. Not only is this storm strange statistically, it’s brought with it some weird phenomena. In the day before it hit, the Western European countries experienced unseasonably warm and sunny weather. The sky, however, was a strange orange-red colour. BBC weather presenter Simon King explains the colouring as a combination of Ophelia dragging tropical air and dust from the Sahara into the atmosphere, and smoke from the wildfires burning in Portugal and Spain at the moment.
The sky in #London has turned into a CRAZY(!) reddish brown colour. It feels incredibly weird…and getting more weird by the minute. So many people are looking at the sky and taking photos. #Ophelia #SaharanDust #FireParticles #RedSun pic.twitter.com/nMQ2e7MdTb
— Tomasz Schafernaker (@Schafernaker) October 16, 2017
— Daisy & Boo (@world_of_Boo) October 16, 2017
— CreativeCaptureMedia (@CCMedia18) October 16, 2017
If that’s not ominous enough (especially as we come up to Halloween) some residents in Ireland noticed birds flying in strange patterns before the hurricane made landfall.
— Sarah Kavanagh (@sltlk) October 16, 2017
— Gavin Devine (@gavindevine1234) October 16, 2017
Sunday night, the gale-force winds were so strong, they whipped up the sea foam enough to completely cover a small Irish town. Imagine walking out to your car in the morning and having to wipe off a layer of foam. Apparently it made the morning commute pretty difficult.
— Viral Hug (@viral_hug) October 17, 2017
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) October 17, 2017
Hurricane Ophelia hits Rossall Beach North West UK with sea snow foam creeping along Rossall Prom. It’s come this far 21.30 tonight ! ! ! pic.twitter.com/q6fqlZLkyp
— Travel Aura (@uktravelaura) October 16, 2017
Ophelia has since been downgraded from a hurricane to a storm, but wind and flood warnings remain in place for much of Ireland and Scotland. A number of flights have also been grounded at Heathrow Airport in London because of the dust in the sky. Hopefully, the worst of the storm has passed at this point and communities can begin repairing damage and restoring power.