Hurricane Ophelia Nears Landfall

Hurricane season is alive and well, with its latest, Ophelia moving east toward Ireland on Sunday.

In addition to preparing for flooding and power outage, CNN reports that officials have now announced school closings as it will be the first major hurricane since the '80s.

Ophelia's position proves it is the farthest east that a major hurricane has traveled in the Atlantic. Hurricane Frances held the previous record in 1980.

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According to archives from the National Hurricane Center, Frances had originally formed off the northwest coast of Africa near Senegal despite never making landfall.

The NHC said Ophelia fast-tracked its way to the United Kingdom, picking up to from 35 mph to 38 mph in an advisory posted 11 a.m. EST. Though it is expected to wane during landfall on its predicted path to Scotland, the center's message remained the same.

"Preparations to protect lives and property should be rushed to completion by this afternoon," the advisory said.

Ophelia weakened from a Category 3 to a Category 2 hurricane early Sunday, with sustained winds of 105 mph.

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Gale force winds are expected in southern Ireland early Monday, gradually spreading across the north in much of the country. Hurricane force winds are forecast to arrive Monday, spreading inland during the evening.

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Ophelia is also said to produce an approximate 2 to 3 inches of rain with isolated totals nearing 4 inches through Tuesday across western Ireland and Scotland.

Photo credit: National Hurricane Center / NASA.gov