Hurricane Lorenzo forecast to smash British Isles with ferocious storm surges

A fishing boat battles against the elements as Hurricane Lorenzo rages (Picture: AP)

The weather system which produced the strongest hurricane ever recorded in the far east Atlantic is heading towards the UK.

 Forecasters say that what is left of Hurricane Lorenzo will have lost much of its power by the time it arrives, but will mean more wind and rain for parts of the country.

The Irish forecaster Met Eireann has warned of ‘ferocious’ and ‘very dangerous’ storm and wave surges as it hits the British Isles tomorrow and Friday.

Hurricane Lorenzo is currently south west of The Azores, where it is expected to pass with 105mph winds throughout today.

The Met Office said there has been some uncertainty of over its path, but it now looks like it will follow a north-easterly track towards the UK and Ireland.

By the time it gets here it will no longer be a hurricane, but will still mean another wet and windy battering for the west of the country.

Waves batter the Azores as strong winds from Hurricane Lorenzo batter the islands (Picture: Reuters)

Chief meteorologist at the Met Office Dan Suri said: ‘There has been considerable uncertainty over the potential track of Lorenzo after it passes The Azores.

‘However, we are now increasingly confident the remnants of Lorenzo will move towards the UK, bringing a spell of wet and very windy weather to western parts on Thursday and Friday.’

Mr Suri said the strongest winds are expected in western Ireland, with a risk of coastal gales developing in Northern Ireland and western Scotland on Thursday and Wales and south-west England on Friday.

He said ‘Ex-Lorenzo’ will also bring spells of heavy rain to north-western parts of the UK through Thursday and Friday, particularly in Northern Ireland, western Scotland, central England and Wales.

Mr Suri said: ‘Our advice is to pay close attention to the weather forecast over the next couple of days and to keep an eye out for any weather warnings that may be issued in your area.’

Deputy chief meteorologist Tony Wardle said: ‘The remnants of ex-Hurricane Lorenzo will gradually pull away from the UK later on Friday, though it’ll remain unsettled with further spells of wet and windy weather as we head into the weekend.’

The arrival of Ex-Lorenzo will mean more rainfall after days of deluge, although the Met Office said Wednesday will be an oasis of good weather between the storms.

Dr Mohammad Heidarzadeh, Head of Coastal Engineering and Resilience at Brunel University London, said Lorenzo was around 3,500km (2,175 miles) from the UK and moving north at about 20mph.

He explained that although the Category 2 hurricane’s track was ‘not 100% certain’ it would likely arrive in the west of the UK and Ireland at around noon on Friday.

He added: ‘We expect that Lorenzo will lose more strength and become a Category 1 or lower when it makes landfall in Ireland and the UK.

‘Still, Lorenzo will have enough strength to cause heavy rainfall and flooding. ‘It is essential that coastal residents take utmost care.

Past experience of hurricane damage and death in other parts of the world shows that most hurricane damage is due to wind-blown debris and landslides in addition to severe flash flooding.

‘Heavy rainfall can destabilise the soil and cause landslides.’

The Irish Government’s emergency task force met on Tuesday to discuss contingency measures for the approaching storm.

Lorenzo is currently a large and powerful hurricane and its hurricane and tropical storm-force winds are expected to expand further during the next few days.

Although Lorenzo is currently a hurricane, it will be a storm when it hits Ireland on Thursday.

Housing Minister Eoghan Murphy, who convened a meeting of the National Emergency Co-ordination Group, told RTE news the severity of the storm once it hits Ireland is ‘still to be determined’.

Mr Murphy said coastal areas are due to be worst affected as ‘very significant storm wave surges’ are expected which could be ‘quite ferocious’ and ‘very dangerous’.

He said the storm could also bring high winds and potentially cause flooding in some areas.

‘People will recall we’ve had strong wind events before, Storm Ally, Storm Ophelia, and how dangerous it was in terms of trees, heavy with leaves, falling, bringing down power lines, causing flooding in certain areas,’ he said.

Mr Murphy said every local authority has been contacted to ask them to monitor Met Eireann’s forecasts, and prepare for storm impacts by activating crisis management and local co-ordination arrangements.

The public are advised to stay away from coastal areas during this period as there will be high seas.

Very strong winds are predicted which will make driving conditions hazardous, especially for the more vulnerable road users such as cyclists, pedestrians, motorcyclists and high-sided vehicles.

Road users have been warned to pay particular attention to the risk posed by fallen trees and flying debris as trees are in full leaf.

In Dublin, the public have been urged to use an online link to alert authorities to those sleeping rough during stormy weather.

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection is on standby with its community welfare officers ready to assist with damage and recovery due to the impacts of the storm.

Mr Murphy said more detailed public safety messaging will be issued on Wednesday morning when the group reconvenes and throughout Wednesday and Thursday.


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