UK to be lashed by Ophe­lia’s tail

Western Mail - - NEWS -

HUR­RI­CANE Ophe­lia is cross­ing the At­lantic Ocean and could bring wet weather and gusts of up to 70mph when it hits Bri­tain’s shores.

The trop­i­cal storm was named a hur­ri­cane on Wed­nes­day night and the US Na­tional Hur­ri­cane Cen­tre has warned it could strengthen over the com­ing days.

The rem­nants of Ophe­lia look set to reach the UK on Mon­day, with un­set­tled weather ex­pected to cause dis­rup­tion, the Met Of­fice said.

The west of the coun­try will see the worst of the weather, with winds of be­tween 60mph and 70mph fore­cast.

It will co­in­cide with the 30th anniversary of the Great Storm of 1987, which hit south­ern Eng­land overnight on Oc­to­ber 15. The storm caused dam­age es­ti­mated at £1bn and claimed 18 lives.

Met Of­fice fore­caster Alex Burkhill said: “Ophe­lia be­came a hur­ri­cane overnight and the fore­cast track takes it east­wards to­wards Ibe­ria for the week­end.

“After that, in­di­ca­tions are that by that point it will then have weak­ened and be no longer a hur­ri­cane or trop­i­cal storm, it will be ex­tra­t­rop­i­cal. But then it will con­tinue its way to­wards the Bri­tish Isles, prob­a­bly reach­ing us very early next week.”

Mr Burkhill said cold sea tem­per­a­tures mean Ophe­lia will not be strong enough to be cat­e­gorised as a hur­ri­cane when it hits Bri­tain. But he added: “It’s def­i­nitely some­thing that we are keep­ing an eye on.”

The un­set­tled weather looks likely to con­tinue into Tues­day due to a sep­a­rate band of low pres­sure.

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