West coastal areas of British Isles battered by hurricane Orphelia

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Three people have so far died as the British Isles was battered by gusts of up to 175 km/h an hour as the remnants of Hurricane Orphelia swept across the Atlantic Ocean.

The hurricane first hit the southwest coast of the Irish Republic where the first fatalities, a man in his 30s and a middle-aged woman, died. In Ravensdale, Dundalk, a second man died after a falling tree landed on his car, the Irish police reported.

People had been urged by the Irish government to stay indoors, with hundreds of schools closed for the day, as troops from the Irish army were assisting in the worst hit coastal counties.

Schools in both Ireland and Britain’s Northern Ireland were closed, with many likely to remain closed Tuesday and public transport was badly hit, with trains, buses and air flights cancelled.

Thousands of homes in Ireland were left with no electricity as the storm swept in a wide arc across to the western coasts of England, Wales and Scotland.

The Met Office issued a high category Amber alert for Northern Ireland and northern coastal areas of the British mainland, warning people to take precautions.

Coastguard officials urged people to stay clear of the coasts to avoid the risk of being swept away by huge waves.

People woke up Monday to red skies across large areas of Britain with cars coated in a sand-colored dust.

“The same southerly winds that have brought us the current warmth have also drawn dust from the Sahara to our latitudes and the dust scatters the blue light from the sun letting more red light through much as at sunrise or sunset,” said a spokesman at the Met.

Wind speeds reached 130 km/h, with gusts of 175 km/h off the coast of southwest Ireland.

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