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HURRICANE O'PHELIA; Ireland braces for new tropical storm after Katia.

Byline: PAT FLANAGAN

THE remnants of Hurricane Ophelia are set to lash Ireland with strong winds and huge seas today, forecasters are warning.

Gusts of up to 90kmh and seven-metre high waves as well as lightning and hail are expected in the next 36 hours.

The tempest is the third episode of extreme weather to hit Ireland in a week, after last Wednesday's 25.6C hottest day of the year and Saturday's wettest day of the year, with 65mm of rain lashing down in Dublin.

Just three weeks ago Hurricane Katia - the country's strongest hurricane-based storm since 1987 - saw 120kmh winds cause tens of millions of euro of damage, hitting property, uprooting trees and causing transport chaos.

Now Hurricane Ophelia threatens similar damage after arriving this morning as a post-tropical cyclone after spinning across the Atlantic.

Ophelia packs 96kmh winds classed as "violent storm-force," touching category 11 of 12 on the Beaufort Scale, covering a huge area around 650km wide.

Met Eireann will issue extreme weather warnings today and said Ophelia, which blew at 185kmh in the Caribbean and caused extensive flooding on the island of Dominica, will batter the north and east hardest, but will also hit the south.

Forecasters said wind gusts would peak at 75kmh in many areas today before rising to 90kmh in the north and east tomorrow, remaining around 70kmh in the south and easing into Friday.

Lightning and hail is also forecast tomorrow. Met Eireann forecaster Harm Luijkx said: "The remains of Hurricane Ophelia are bringing more extreme weather in another episode of extreme weather, after the hottest day of the year last week and the wettest day of the year on Saturday.

"It will be very windy, although not as windy as Katia last month.

"Wednesday will see gusts of up to 75kmh everywhere, with winds peaking on Thursday at 90kmh.

"11 a 90kmh gusts are expected and seven-metre high waves

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THREATENING A satellite image of Hurricane Ophelia
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Geographic Code:4EUIR
Date:Oct 5, 2011
Words:327
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