Thousands lose power as storm hits Ireland

Winds of 109mph are recorded as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia reaches Ireland before the UK.

Thousands are without power in southern Ireland as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia reach the British Isles.

The Met Office has warned of “potential danger to life”, with winds off the south coast of Ireland reaching 109mph (176km/h) at Fastnet Rock.

In the Republic of Ireland, Met Eireann has issued a red wind warning and the government has deployed the army.

An amber warning for Northern Ireland, Wales, south west Scotland and the Isle of Man is in force until 23:00 BST.

A yellow warning of “very windy weather” also covers parts of Scotland, the west and north of England and Wales.

Ophelia is on its way from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean and it comes 30 years after the UK’s Great Storm of 1987.

The BBC’s Ireland correspondent, Chris Page, said it would be the most severe storm to hit Ireland in half a century.

More than 100,000 homes in the Republic of Ireland are without power and ESB Networks has warned it could be several days before it is restored.

Ireland’s Taoiseach Leo Varadkar said Ophelia was a dangerous storm and advised people to stay indoors until the storm had passed.

The Irish Republic’s Met Eireann said the storm is forecast to travel north over western parts of Ireland, with “violent and destructive gusts” of 75mph to 93mph (120 km/h to 150km/h) expected countrywide.

“There is a danger to life and property,” a statement said.

The Met Office said there was a “good chance” Northern Ireland could be hit on Monday afternoon by power cuts, flying debris, large waves in coastal areas and disruption to all travel services.

In England, three flood warnings – meaning flooding is expected – have been issued in the South West, and there are 13 flood alerts – meaning flooding is possible – across other parts of the country.

BREAKING: Status red weather warning extended nationwide over Hurricane Ophelia

End of Twitter post by @Independent_ie

The latest developments are:

Former US President Bill Clinton has cancelled a trip to Belfast because of the weather.

It is understood he was due to meet Northern Ireland’s political parties over the current stalemate at Stormont.

Public safety is our key concern today. Advice is to stay at home, no unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities. Further updates later.

End of Twitter post by @campaignforleo

Three battalions of soldiers – 1,200 personnel in total – are on permanent standby to deal with major incidents in the UK, but the Ministry of Defence said no specific requests had yet been made of them by local authorities.

Weather warnings for Northern Ireland – useful emergency contact numbers

End of Twitter post by @nidirect

Ophelia has been downgraded to a category one hurricane by the US National Hurricane Center and is forecast to continue gradually weakening.

BBC Weather said Monday would be a “day of huge contrasts” with the strong gusts of wind travelling over the Irish Sea and heading north to central and southern Scotland, sparing eastern parts of the UK.

Eastern England is instead expected to enjoy unseasonably warm weather, with temperatures of 22C or 23C on Monday – compared with an average for mid-October of 15C.

Highs of 24C were recorded in the region on Saturday as some parts of the country basked in a “mini heatwave” thanks to warm air brought by Hurricane Ophelia.

Ophelia set the record for the most easterly category three hurricane in the Atlantic.

Category three hurricanes are defined as having wind speeds of between 111mph (179km/h) and 129mph (208km/h) and can cause major damage to well-built homes.

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Winds of 109mph are recorded as the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia reaches Ireland before the UK.