Ophelia became a hurricane overnight - and is headed for Britain

Source Shutterstock  Rainer Fuhrmann

Source Shutterstock Rainer Fuhrmann

"A combination of a vigorous Atlantic weather system and the remnants of Hurricane Ophelia will pass close to Ireland on Monday, and has the potential to be a high-impact event in parts of the country", stated Met Eireann.

The storm, which is now a Category 2, was initially not thought to be a land threat, swirling far from the American and European coastlines in the middle of the Atlantic.

Ophelia may not threaten the US - but it could move near the Azores islands, and the National Hurricane Center on Thursday cautioned those in the islands to keep an eye on the storm.

Northern Ireland on Friday is enjoying unseasonably warm weather, but warnings are in place for the after effects of Hurricane Ophelia set to hit early next week.

Hurricane Ophelia is beating an usual path. Temperatures in the mid-Atlantic are typically too cool for hurricanes to develop.

The storm will have lost its tropical features by then, but that's an academic point, because the winds may still be as strong as a hurricane.

As of 10 a.m. CDT Thursday, Hurricane Ophelia was located 715 miles southwest of the Azores and was moving north-northeast at 2 mph.

Only slight weakening is forecast during the next 48 hours.

The milder weather will continue into Sunday, before a serious change on Monday when ex-Hurricane Ophelia hits the province.

Ophelia was moving toward the east-northeast near 8 miles per hour and this motion with an increase in forward speed is expected through Saturday.

Experts at the U.S. Hurricane Centre confirmed gusts of 100mph are now emanating from the centre of the hurricane.

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