IRELAND – The winds are unbearable. Huge waves are battering the coast. Sheds are blowing away whole. The sky has turned colors, from red to yellow, with a sometimes blood-like sun peeking through. But it’s not what’s happening that makes post-tropical cyclone Ophelia so bizarre — it’s where.
The storm, formerly a category 3 hurricane, is currently threatening Ireland and parts of the UK, and is already being blamed for three deaths in the area.
Hurricanes and strong cyclones in Europe? They happen sometimes, but they typically aren’t very strong. Ophelia’s path — coming in from the south as opposed to the west — means the storm had time to gather and maintain strength, making it the strongest storm the region has seen in decades.
— Sam Lillo (@splillo) October 14, 2017
Even though Ophelia is technically now a post-tropical cyclone, it’s still just as severe as a hurricane, and Irish and UK residents are documenting the sometimes terrifying, sometimes awe-inspiring phenomenon.
A golf game gone awry
Four friends weren’t going to let Ophelia keep them from taking advantage of a few precious days at the Royal County Down Golf Club in Newcastle, Northern Ireland. However, Ophelia wasn’t quite as amenable.
— Phil Logan (@Barenbrug_PL) October 16, 2017
Paul Armour tried to drive the ball as far as he could down the course, but it went about 75 yards from the tee…and 200 yards to the right.
The group understandably gave up after the front nine.
“It was fun in the end despite almost getting swept away,” Phil Dick, who shot the video, told CNN.
The sea comes knocking
The storm whipped up strong waves that pushed the Atlantic Ocean above seawalls and into parts of Galway, Ireland.
“Hello?” wrote resident Alex Podger on Instagram. “Yes, I’d like to report an Atlanta Ocean at the end of my street.”
In Myrtleville, Ireland, the owner of a local pub issued a warning to everyone in the storm’s path.
“Not good here, stay @ home, it’s seriously dangerous,” wrote Paul O’Brien, owner of the Bunnyconnellan Bar & Restaurant.
Terrifying wind damage
While it’s natural for people to try and keep a sense of humor during a storm like this, some buildings in Ireland experienced some truly sobering wind damage.
Here is the roof of Turners Cross Stadium in Cork, Ireland.
And a trampoline, making a hasty and dangerous exit in nearby Cobh, Ireland.
— Aido Mac (@TheRebelRam) October 16, 2017
To really understand the intensity of the wind, here are two residents in Laois, Ireland, struggling to keep a gate from flying away.
— Criostoir Cú Chuilleanáin 🇮🇪🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆🏆 (@Cullencork) October 16, 2017
Chris Cullen told CNN the fence was swaying and he knew he needed to take action.
“The only thing holding [the fence] up was the bolt on the lock,” he said. “The cars were on the other side so we tried to get it down quickly.”
A strange sky
In the UK, most storm-watchers were taken by the way Ophelia painted the sky an unsettling hue. Many likened it to some sci-fi world, like Tatooine or the futuristic setting of “Blade Runner.”
— Nilufar Now (@TweetNilufar) October 16, 2017
— Juliet Greenwood (@julietgreenwood) October 16, 2017
The sun appears red because Ophelia’s system is bringing in strong winds from the south, and with it, Saharan dust and smoke from wildfires in Portgual. The particles come together to turn the sky and sun reddish hues.