Hurricane Lorenzo hits Azores, heads towards Ireland

Wednesday, October 2, 2019

Five-day forecast as of 08:00 a.m. AST (1200 UTC)
Image: NOAA.

Today, as Hurricane Lorenzo hit the Azores, Met Éireann, the national meteorological service for Ireland, issued weather alerts as the storm approached from the west. Yellow warnings were issued nationwide, while six counties on the coast received orange warnings. The warnings apply from tomorrow night into Friday morning.

The Azores — autonomous islands of Portugal in the Atlantic Ocean — closed schools and non-essential public services. "The situation will worsen in the next few hours", said Vasco Cordeiro, the regional president, as the storm bore down on the Azores. Authorities expected winds of 100 mph (about 160 km/h) and high waves.

The orange warning issued by Met Éireann applied to County Galway, County Mayo, County Clare, County Cork, County Kerry and County Limerick and starts at 6 p.m. local time (1700 UTC) tomorrow. Though Lorenzo was forecast to diminish from a hurricane to a tropical storm, gusts of wind were forecast to reach 60–80 mph (about 95–130 km/h). "Storm Lorenzo will produce significant swell, high waves and sizeable storm surges. This will lead to wave overtopping, some coastal flooding and damage, especially along western and southern coasts", read the warning. The warnings called for gale force winds and heavy rain.

Hurricane Lorenzo reached Category 5 on the Saffir–Simpson scale this past Saturday, but was downgraded to Category 1 as of this morning. According to reports, Lorenzo is the largest and strongest tropical cyclone to reach this far into the northeastern Atlantic in recorded history.