Travel Alert October 2017: Hurricane Ophelia to Affect Ireland and the United Kingdom

If Ireland and the northern United Kingdom are in your travel plans over the next few days, you may want to consider delaying your travel — or, at least, keep yourself updated as to the latest information pertaining to the weather — due to the effects from Hurricane Ophelia.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Travel Alert October 2017: Hurricane Ophelia to Affect Ireland and the United Kingdom

Hurricane Ophelia

Hurricane Ophelia races across the Atlantic Ocean as it heads northeast south of the Azores, which are outlined in purple. Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

Maximum sustained winds of Hurricane Ophelia — which is currently approximately 235 miles southeast of the Azores and moving northeast at a speed of 28 miles per hour — are at 115 miles per hour as a major Category 3 hurricane with a distinct eye; and it is expected to be downgraded to a tropical storm sometime on Monday, October 16, 2017 out over the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean before landfall occurs somewhere in southwestern Ireland or western Ireland, which is expected to experience wind gusts of up to 80 miles per hour.

Hurricane Ophelia

Source: National Hurricane Center of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the United States.

Cities expected to be affected by this storm include Dublin, Shannon, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester. London should be minimally impacted at best; but delays with air traffic are possible.

Dangerous rough surf, localized flash flooding, strong rip currents, windy conditions and rainfall of up to four inches is possible in some areas. Power outages are also possible.

This is a fast-moving storm; so even though damage is forecast to occur as a tropical storm, the effects will not last too long in Ireland, Northern Ireland, Scotland and other portions of the United Kingdom.

While remnants of tropical systems affecting Ireland and continental Europe are not all that unusual — the remnants of Hurricane Maria did reach the United Kingdom, France and Germany — the landfall of actual tropical systems while they are still intact are extremely rare. My research indicates that Sunday, September 17, 1961 was the last time an intact tropical system impacted Ireland with the landfall of Hurricane Debbie — unless you count Tropical Depression Vince and its landfall near Huelva on the southwestern coast of Spain back on Tuesday, October 11, 2005, which was the first tropical system in recorded history to reach the Iberian Peninsula.

Should Hurricane Ophelia lose all of its tropical characteristics prior to landfall in Ireland or the United Kingdom, its remnants will more commonly join at least two other past storms named Ophelia to affect Europe — in 2005 and again in 2011, which affected the Faroe Islands and Scotland respectively.

Flight Waivers, Delays and Cancellations

If you are traveling to Ireland and the northern United Kingdom over the next few days, expect delays and cancellations of flights. Keep up to date on the latest information pertaining to this tropical weather system which may adversely affect your travel plans. Better yet, postponing or canceling your trip might be a better option — no matter which mode of travel you plan on taking.

If you have a flight scheduled, your flight may be delayed or canceled — and you may be eligible for a waiver of a fee to change your itinerary. If you are driving in any of these areas, watch out for deteriorating weather conditions and traffic problems.

Here are seven airlines which have issued travel alerts as a result of this tropical weather system:

  • American Airlines has issued a travel alert for Dublin in total for Monday, October 16, 2017; and Thursday, October 19, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • United Airlines has issued travel alerts for Dublin, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Manchester and Shannon for Monday, October 16, 2017 through Tuesday, October 17, 2017; and Friday, October 20, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Delta Air Lines has issued a travel alert for Dublin for Sunday, October 15, 2017 through Monday, October 16, 2017; and Monday, October 23, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • British Airways has issued travel alerts for eight airports in total:
    • Dublin and Belfast for Monday, October 16, 2017; and Monday, October 23, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
    • Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester and Newcastle for Tuesday, October 17, 2017; and Tuesday, October 24, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • KLM Royal Dutch Airlines has issued a travel alert for Dublin for Sunday, October 15, 2017 through Monday, October 16, 2017; and Monday, October 23, 2017 is the last day on which tickets must be reissued and rebooked travel must begin.
  • Aer Lingus has issued a travel alert for canceled flights — for which it is offering refunds — for Monday, October 16, 2017.
  • Ryanair has issued a travel alert for a long list of cancelled flights for Monday, October 16, 2017.

Summary

Expect travel waivers to be issued by additional airlines — especially the ones based in western Europe.

Be sure to contact your airline or transportation provider for the latest information pertaining to your travels — if they are adversely affected — and please: travel safely.

Source: The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration of the Department of Commerce of the United States.

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