Farmers braced for 80mph gusts as Ophelia sweeps in

Farmers in Northern Ireland and north Wales are bracing themselves for gusts up to 80mph brought by ex-hurricane Ophelia.

Weather warnings are in place for very strong winds in Northern Ireland, western and northern Britain on Monday and Tuesday (16-17 October).

However, the forecast for other areas – such as south-east England – is good, with warm and mainly dry conditions likely to dominate.

See also: How Farmers Weekly covered the ‘Great Storm’ of 1987

Farmers in Northern Ireland and Eire are expected to suffer the worst of the storm, which comes six weeks after heavy rain and flash floods caused havoc on farms in Northern Ireland.

Met Office chief forecaster Steve Ramsdale said: “We have issued an amber wind warning for Northern Ireland for the most intense period of winds between 3pm and 10pm on Monday.

“During this period, we can expect wind gusts in excess of 60mph, with a chance of 80mph gusts for the southeast of Northern Ireland.”

Yellow (severe) wind warnings cover Northern Ireland and western and northern Britain from 12pm on Monday until midnight. A separate yellow wind warning has been issued from a period extending until 3pm on Tuesday for Northern Ireland, northern England and the southern half of Scotland.

Irish agriculture minister Michael Creed urged farmers and people living in rural areas to take precautions and be extra vigilant.

Mr Creed said: “Priority is obviously the safety of people and I would reiterate the advice that only essential travel should be taken. For farmers they should ensure that their yards are secured by securing loose objects.”

The minister also reminded landowners of the dangers of fallen trees, in particular the impact this can have on electric wires. Shed doors should be securely fastened and older slat roofs sheds avoided.

“If you have to check on livestock, bring a family member or neighbour and in more exposed and remote areas, wait until the storm abates,” he added.

Ophelia is passing south of the Azores in the Atlantic Ocean. When it hits the UK, it will be downgraded from a hurricane to a storm – almost exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 struck, killing 18 people.

Tips for livestock safety

  • Identify fields at higher ground where livestock can be moved to safety and gain permission to use these in advance of flooding if they are not your own
  • Make sure livestock have access to plenty of feed and fresh, clean water
  • Keep feed and other livestock materials, including basic veterinary supplies, in buildings that can withstand high winds and potential flooding
  • Don’t put your life at risk by checking livestock during a storm, but wait until immediately afterwards
  • Place farm machinery and heavy farm equipment under cover if possible
See more