Living in Ireland: Storm Ophelia

I had planned to share a delicious recipe with you today, but food isn’t on my mind.

Coming from me, this is pretty shocking, I know! I’m always thinking about food.

Storm Ophelia, the remnant of Hurricane Ophelia, pounded Ireland on Monday. It was predicted to be the worst storm in 50 years to hit the island.

The island, which includes two countries, the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, is the size of Indiana in terms of land mass and approximate population.

If you’re thinking it is extraordinarily rare for a hurricane – even one downgraded to a tropical storm or depression – to make it this far north, you’d be right. It’s definitely not normal.

At first, just a handful of counties on Ireland’s west coast were expected to be adversely impacted by Ophelia, but by Sunday night that changed. A red weather warning – the highest category – was issued by the Irish government for the entire country.

This declaration prompted school and government office closures for Monday. My kids were THRILLED to have a day off.

In the Dublin area, where we live on the west coast, it had been unusually warm for 3 days prior to the storm hitting. It was awesome, but a little strange. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll remember I mentioned that on Friday when I was in Dublin.

If you’ve lived in Ireland for longer than two seconds, you know that bad weather is to be expected and you do not squander warm, sunny days. It’s an unwritten code or something. So we did all the things you do when Mother Nature gifts you warm days in October – go to the park, walk on the beach, play outside, do yard work, etc. It was awesome! Well, maybe not that yard work part.

The red weather warning and subsequent school closure notice didn’t come until maybe 8 p.m. on Sunday night. All the things I had planned on doing on Monday were definitely not happening.

Because my internal body alarm likes to show me who’s boss, I was up bright and early on Monday. Why can’t that happen every Monday? At 7:30 a.m., I walked to the store for milk. It was still unusually warm and there was a mist in the air, but hardly any wind.

Buses and trains were operating, but there weren’t many cars out and about. Although, it was 7:30.

Strong gusts in our area started around 11 a.m. just as Handy Husband made it back from work. His company had issued an evacuation notice ahead of public transportation shutting down at 2 p.m.

If you got stuck in the city after the trains and buses shut down, I’m sure it was not pleasant trying to find a way home.

In the mid-afternoon I took this photo out my daughter’s bedroom window.

I was fully anticipating our power to go out based on the winds we were experiencing, which continued well into the evening.

News reports were rolling in all day of power outages. At the peak, 360,000 were without power due mainly to trees falling on power lines. The morning after the storm, 245,000 were still without power. 3 people died. There was flooding and wind damage in various areas along the west coast.

For our family, this storm became a great exercise in being smart and prepared, but hoping for the best. We had water, food, flashlights and back up batteries for phones. We’ve lived in areas with earthquakes, snow storms, ice storms and tornadoes, so we have a healthy respect for Mother Nature.

This is the view I woke up to on Tuesday morning. What a difference a day makes, huh?

I’m glad public officials operated with an abundance of caution in shutting down schools and government offices during the storm because you just don’t know. There’s no reason little kids should be walking to school when winds are strong enough to uproot trees.

I am extraordinarily thankful that the storm left our neighborhood relatively unscathed. I’m so happy for the unexpected family time too. We had dinner together – all 4 of us – on a Monday night, which never happens. I’m also saddened for the people who lost their lives and for those who suffered real damage. It’s a weird thing for us human beings to carry so many conflicting emotions at one time, isn’t it?

If you are moving to a new state, region or country, I encourage you to figure out right away what the local news sources are in your area. It can be frustrating or uninteresting to read about local news when you have no idea what they are talking about and it’s hard to relate to the information. However, it is important to know where to go for trusted information should a local emergency develop. This includes signing up for news or emergency alerts for your area. You don’t want to be caught unaware.

Since I’m dialed into my local news, I now know that Storm Brian is on its way.

*sigh*

I was hoping for a slightly happier story about baby kittens or something.


Here are a few local Irish resources, but by no means an exhaustive list.

An Garda Síochána (Ireland’s National Police Service)

The Irish Meteorological Service 

Office of Emergency Planning

Irish Times

Irish Independent

Bus Éireann

Irish Rail

Dublin Bus

Luas

2 thoughts on “Living in Ireland: Storm Ophelia

  1. Sandy Smith

    I’m so glad you and the family were unharmed. I’ve never been in a hurricane before so I’m sure I would be pretty scared. I do remember the Columbus Day Storm here in Oregon and it was pretty wild. We were without power for 4 days but no damage to our farm. You always seem to know what to do in any situation.

    Reply
    1. annisa Post author

      Thanks for the warm wishes. It doesn’t always feel like we know what to do and sometimes circumstances are out of our control, but being prepared helps.

      Reply

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