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One dead, thousands without power as Ophelia hits Ireland

Ireland — One woman has died and thousands are without electricity as Hurricane Ophelia hits Ireland.

Stormy weather has already caused destruction in the Republic of Ireland as the Caribbean-made system hits the republic.

At a press conference Minister of Defense Taoiseach Leo Varadkar advised residents to stay inside until the storm passes. “I don’t want anyone to think that this is anything other than a national emergency,” Varadkar said.

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

Since 10:00 a.m. BST, Ireland has been recording 176 km/h (109 mp/h) winds at Fastnet Rock off the coast of Cork. Gusts of 124 km/h (77 mp/h) had already been recorded at the Cork Airport.

The National Hurricane Center earlier warned that “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.”

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.

Former Hurricane Ophelia has begun hitting Ireland’s west coast as a post-tropical storm bringing with it strong winds, heavy rain, and the threat of storm surge and flooding.

At least one woman was killed when a tree fell on her car in County Waterford, a spokesman for Ireland’s national police, An Garda Siochana said.

Met Éireann, Ireland’s National Meteorological Service, extended a red wind warning to cover the entire country through Monday, cautioning that there was a “danger to life and property.”

Ophelia arrived from the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean 30 years after the UK’s Great Storm of 1987, making it the most severe storm to hit Ireland in half a century.