“How now, Ophelia? What’s the matter?”
A famous line from Shakespeare’s masterpiece, Hamlet. Interestingly, an anagram of Hamlet is “Halt ’em!”, and halt us she did, ex-hurricane Ophelia causing Ireland to close down for a day under a Red Warning issued by our meteorological service, Met Éireann. Schools, public transport and businesses closed down as people were warned to stay indoors and to not make ‘unnecessary journeys’ until the strong extratropical storm, originating south of the Azores, had passed well to the north.
The strongest hurricane ever recorded so far east in the Atlantic, Ophelia reached Category 3 (Major) hurricane strength against the odds southwest of the Azores and continued as a major hurricane as far east as 26.6 °W, further east than any other since records began in 1851. Frances in 1980 did come close (29.9 °W, some 190 nautical miles (350 km) further west), so while it’s not completely unheard of, Ophelia was still a record-breaker. Continue reading