Storm Ophelia: US hurricane experts warn of storm surges, coastal flooding and 2 to 3 inches of rainfall

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US hurricane experts have warned of storm surges with potential coastal flooding, hurricane force winds and up to 2 to 3 inches of rainfall when former tropical hurricane Ophelia travels up the west coast of Ireland through Derry and Donegal this afternoon.

Forecasters at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, Florida, which informs the US authorities’ seasonal hurricane response preparations, said measures to protect lives and property in both Ireland and Britain should now be complete.

“Hurricane-force winds are forecast to reach the southern portions of Ireland by Monday afternoon. Strong winds will then spread across the remainder of Ireland and parts of the United Kingdom into Monday night.

“Preparations to protect lives and property should be complete,” was the verdict from the US at 4.00 a.m. Derry time.

“Wind speeds atop and on the windward sides of hills and mountains are often up to 30 percent stronger than the near-surface winds [maximum sustained winds of up to 85 miles per hour] sustained indicated in this advisory, and in some elevated locations could be even greater,” the NHC warned.

Heavy burst of rain are also a possibility, warns the NHC.

“Ophelia is expected to produce rainfall amounts of 2 to 3 inches (50 mm to 75 mm) with isolated totals near 4 inches (100mm) through Tuesday across western Ireland and Scotland. Across eastern Ireland, rainfall amounts will average around 1 inch (25 mm) or less.”

And storm surges could result in flooding. A high tide of 2.75 metres is due in Derry City just after 7.00 p.m. this evening.

“A dangerous storm surge is expected to produce significant coastal flooding near and to the east of where the

center of the post-tropical cyclone makes landfall.

“Near the coast, the surge will be accompanied by large and destructive waves,” adds the NCH.

Local forecasts and warnings for Ireland can be found on the websites of Met Éireann and the Met office.