Met Éireann has put the country on high weather alerts for severe winds and stormy conditions as the tail end of Hurricane Ophelia is set to whip Ireland.
Status Red and Orange Warnings have been issued by the State forecaster as Ophelia heads towards the island. The tropical storm is likely to hit Sunday night having its biggest impact on Monday.
A Status Red Wind Warning is in place for the west coast while the rest of the country has been placed on the second highest weather alert level - Orange.
Because of the storm's danger Met Éireann has consulted with the National Hurricane Centre in the United States. It describes Ophelia as a 'Rare Category 3 Hurricane' that is expected to remain a 'powerful cyclone'.
SEE LATEST MET EIREANN FORECAST HERE
MET ÉIREANN WEATHER WARNING SYSTEM EXPLAINED HERE
The Red Warning was issued for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry at noon on Saturday. Met Éireann says ex-hurricane Ophelia is expected to bring severe winds and stormy conditions on Monday.
The forecaster says mean wind speeds in excess of 80 km/h and gusts in excess of 130km/h are expected, potentially causing structural damage and disruption, with dangerous marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding.
Meanwhile, a Status Orange Wind Warning has been issued for the rest of the country. Met Éireann again says that the storm is expected to bring severe winds and stormy conditions to all parts.
Mean wind speeds between 65 and 80 km/h with gusts between of 110 and 130km/h are expected, however some inland areas may not be quite as severe. However, structural damage and disruption is also possible with the potential for flooding.
Both Red and Yellow warning is valid from Monday morning, October 16 9am to Tuesday morning, October 17 3am.
The forcaster has advised the public that it is crucial to keep a close eye on the forecast as Ophelia's direct course could vary by up to 100km. This would mean that the Red Alert area could widen. Among the expected impacts are likely tree falls added the forecaster.
The US National Hurricane Centre based in Florida in the United States has tweeted that Ophelia is a 'Rare Category 3 Hurricane'. It warns that, while there will be a gradual weakening on Saturday night or Sunday, Ophelia is still expected to remain a "powerful cyclone" with "hurricane force winds" for the next couple of days as it approaches Ireland.
The US National Hurricane Centre's says its key message is as follows:
Ophelia is expected to be a powerful extratropical cyclone with hurricane force winds Monday while it moves near Ireland and the United Kingdom. Direct impacts from wind and heavy rain in portions of these areas are likely, along with dangerous marine conditions. For more details on the magnitude, timing, and location of impacts from post-tropical Ophelia, residents in Ireland should refer to products issued by Met Eireann, and residents in the United Kingdom should refer to products issued by the Met Office.
CHECK OUT THE US NATIONAL HURRICANE ADVICE ON OPHELIA HERE
ROAD SAFETY ADVICE FOR DRIVING IN STORMY WEATHER HERE
MORE FROM MET EIREANN ON HURRICANE OPHELIA HERE