LONDON — The last blasts from Ophelia are hitting Ireland with more than two hundred flight cancellations and delays in and out of the Emerald Isle today and tomorrow, with more cancellations on the way for England and Scotland as the wild weather, now downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone but still packing hurricane-strength winds, makes its way east.
The storm’s path is likely to bring it to Wales, northern England and Scotland on Tuesday.
Gusts of up to 128 kph were reported 30 years to the day after a weather event dubbed the ‘Great Storm of 1987’ hit southern England and killed 18 people.
Authorities in Ireland have ordered schools, courts and government buildings to remain closed before the storm’s arrival. Bridges were shut down as a precaution in both Ireland and Britain. There are also widespread power outages in Ireland.
The Irish weather service issued a ‘status red’ warning, saying ‘violent and destructive’ wind was forecast nationwide, and ‘heavy rain and storm surges along some coasts will lead to flooding’.
Britain’s Met Office also warned of very windy weather in parts of Northern Ireland, Scotland and northern England.
According to FlightAware.com the following airports are seeing cancellations and delays (as of 10:41 a.m.):
- Dublin International (DUB): 109 cancelled, 136 delayed
- Belfast International (BFS): 64 cancelled, 6 delayed
- London Heathrow (LHR): 55 cancelled, 256 delayed
- Manchester (MAN): 37 cancelled, 88 delayed
- London Gatwick (LGW): 21 cancelled, 87 delayed
- Edinburgh (EDI): 21 cancelled, 53 delayed
Meanwhile airlines have been issuing travel alerts and advisories. Here are the latest:
Air Canada has revised its ticketing policy for customers booked on affected flights to Dublin (DUB) and London Heathrow (LHR), to facilitate changes to bookings. Passengers looking to make alternate travel arrangements can do so without penalty, space permitting, for affected flights Oct. 17.
WestJet is advising all guests travelling to or from Glasgow and Dublin from October 13 to Oct. 18 to check the status of their flights prior to leaving for the airport. WestJet has implemented flexible change and cancel rules.
British Airways is giving customers travelling to or from Dublin or Belfast on Oct. 16 the option to move their travel dates. “Customers travelling to or from Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds-Bradford, Manchester or Newcastle on Tuesday (Oct. 17) can also opt to change their travel dates.”
BA also noted that the winds may be too strong to safely operate loading and unloading vehicles at some UK airports, so some flights are likely to experience delays.
The airline added that for safety reasons, there will be a reduction in the number of aircraft from all airlines that can land each hour at Heathrow. “This has unfortunately meant we have had to cancel a small number of flights. We are refunding or rebooking any affected customers onto alternative flights so they can continue their journeys as soon as possible.”
With files from The Associated Press