IRISH people have reacted with typically defiant humour as Hurricane Ophelia – potentially the worst storm to hit Ireland in over 50 years – bares down on the Emerald Isle this morning.
The Atlantic whirlwind is expected to make landfall in Co. Cork at around 11am – where hundreds of birds have been filmed escaping the coast to safety.
Elsewhere, Northern Ireland and Wales will be hit by gales of up to 70mph and the rest of Britain will see heavy rain – exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 killed 22 people in England and France.
A Status Red Weather Warning has been extended across the island of Ireland as Met Eireann warns of a potential “danger to life” in South West Ireland due to the 80mph gales.
But the people of Ireland are not the sort to be panicked – and thousands have taken to social media to poke defiant fun at the ex-hurricane.
One Cork native said: “Lads I'm going to be pure embarrassed if Ophelia is just a big gust a wind, I have friends from other countries praying for me.”
Another joked: “My husband just farted in bed and woke me up. Thought it was the beginning of Ophelia.”
While one defiant Dubliner summed Irish priorities up perfectly, writing: “Lads.. I’ve got about 11 tea bags left.”
My husband just farted in bed and woke me up. Thought it was the beginning of #Ophelia
— Jane Ginger (@JaneGinger50) October 16, 2017
if you get up early enough in the morning you might be lucky enough to witness the great Irish trampoline migration of 2017 #Ophelia
— charly ryan (@zombiestepdad) October 16, 2017
— Melissa ?? (@Caramelon25) October 16, 2017
Lads I'm going to be pure embarrassed if #Ophelia is just a big gust a wind, I have friends from other countries praying for me
— Neees? (@peachschnappps) October 16, 2017
— Bibi Ni Cici (@BeeKneeQuitter) October 16, 2017
Dash for milk+bread+saw:
Guy in flip-flops, shorts + shades walking dog
Man putting giant fibre-glass ice cream cone outside shop#ophelia
— Joe O'Slay (@josefoshea) October 16, 2017
A moment of silence for all Irish parents stuck in the house with children off school if the electricity and/or the Internet goes #Ophelia
— Francesca (@mugful_of_life) October 16, 2017
— Kate McLoughney (@KateMcLoughney) October 15, 2017
— Noah Halpin (@Noah_Halpin) October 15, 2017
But of course, a hurricane is no laughing matter and there is expected to be significant damage to property and flooding in some southerly areas.
Dublin Fire Brigade advised homeowners this morning to “secure garden furniture, trampolines, bins and large inflatable minions” in preparation for today’s gales.
Meanwhile, Sarah Kavanagh, who lives in Cork, tweeted a video of birds flying inland shortly after 8am, saying: “Ummmm... think they know there’s something big coming?”
There is of course a danger to life as well as property and a large tree was filmed this morning blocking a road in Killeagh, Co. Cork – one of the counties expected to take the brunt of the storm.
President Michael D Higgins urged people to follow Government advise and take the necessary precautions after Met Eireann advised the public to stay indoors this morning.
Transport for Ireland tweeted: “Due to #Ophelia, Gardai have urged motorists & the public not to make non-essential journeys - they advise people not to cycle at all.”
While Taoiseach Leo Varadkar warned: “Public safety is our key concern today. Advice is to stay at home, no unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities.”
More than 5,000 homes have already been left without electricity due to power lines coming down as Ophelia hits southern Ireland.
Most of the power outages are centred in Cork and Kerry so far, with the ex-hurricane heading north this afternoon before dissipating at around 2pm.
— Sarah Kavanagh (@sltlk) October 16, 2017
— Conor Power (@Irishgooner101) October 16, 2017
— Met Éireann (@MetEireann) October 16, 2017
— Dublin Fire Brigade (@DubFireBrigade) October 15, 2017
Public safety is our key concern today. Advice is to stay at home, no unnecessary travel or other outdoor activities. Further updates later.
— Leo Varadkar (@campaignforleo) October 16, 2017
Thank you to all those working in the health service and emergency services. Your dedication, particularly at times like this, is incredible
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) October 16, 2017
President Higgins urged people to follow Government advice and take precautions in advance of hurricane #Ophelia making landfall today.
— President of Ireland (@PresidentIRL) October 15, 2017
— AA Roadwatch (@aaroadwatch) October 16, 2017