Woman Crushed by Falling Tree Is the First Victim of Hurricane Ophelia

A woman has been killed at the extreme weather associated with Hurricane Ophelia barrels through the British Isles, BBC News reports.

The 20-something was driving in West Waterford, Ireland, as winds up to 80 mph whistled and a tree fell on her car Monday morning. The driver did not survive the incident while a passenger, a woman in her 50s, sustained non-life threatening injuries from the hit.

Ophelia's strong winds have led the Met Office to issue a "potential danger to life" warning as gusts near Ireland's southern coast have reached 109 mph.

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Following the woman's death, the Gardai, Ireland's police force, has urged drivers to stay indoors and avoid traveling during the extreme weather conditions.

As the intense storm continues to roll through Ireland, Wales and Scotland today, about 120,000 homes in Ireland are already without power thanks to the now-Category 1 hurricane. Electricians say it could be several days before power is restored to those areas, but the storm is expected to weaken as it moves inland.

England will also see some strong weather conditions as a result of Ophelia's movement, though its effects will not be as strong.

"When the storm arrives it will still maintain some of that energy [from Hurricane Ophelia] but it means it will be downgraded so it won't be a hurricane by the time it reaches the UK," a Met Office spokesperson told The Sun.

"At the moment it looks like it's going to track along the side of the west coast of Ireland and just brushes the edge of Scotland," the spokesperson added. "However there will be some pretty strong winds but not huge amounts of rain. We are going to see some pretty strong conditions, certainly some gales across the west."

Hurricane Ophelia's brutal winds and storms hit the area exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987, which claimed the lives of at least 18 people and caused an estimated £1billion in damage.


Photo credit: National Weather Service