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Met Office issues severe weather alert as Hurricane Ophelia approaches

Met Office issues severe weather alert as Hurricane Ophelia approaches

But the U.S. National Hurricane Center says tropical storm-force winds are possible throughout the Azores beginning late Saturday.

At 10 a.m. Saturday, Ophelia was about 220 miles south of the Azores, moving northeast at a brisk 25 mph.

It's unusual for a hurricane to head toward northwest Europe.

Hurricane Ophelia grew to a unsafe Category 3 storm Saturday (Oct. 14) - a rare major hurricane south of the Azores and headed toward Ireland, the National Hurricane Center said.

The rainfall could trigger flooding, it warned.

More news: France out to complete World Cup job

All 17 firefighting units on the archipelago are on standby to intervene, a spokeswoman for the security services told AFP.

While there are no coastal watches or warnings in effect for this storm, people in the Zores, Ireland and United Kingdom are urged to monitor its progress.

Ireland's Met Eireann issued a red wind warning, its highest level, for five counties for Monday, with an orange warning in place for the rest of the nation.

Mean wind speeds in excess of 80 km per hour and gusts in excess of 130 km per hour are expected, potentially causing structural damage and disruption, with risky marine conditions due to high seas and potential flooding, the service said.


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