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Ophelia, post-tropical cyclone, could bring damage to Ireland and U.K.

Hurricane Ophelia
Hurricane Ophelia 00:14

LONDON -- Hurricane Ophelia was downgraded late Sunday night to post-tropical cyclone, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center's (NHC) latest advisory, but can still bring strong winds to Ireland and the United Kingdom later on Monday.

NHC says could bring 80 mile an hour wind gusts, disruption and damage to Ireland and Britain as the work week gets underway, weather services said Sunday.

Earlier, Ophelia was a Category 2 hurricane, then Category 1 and eventually downgraded even more Sunday as it moved north-northeast across the Atlantic. The NHC says the storm packs maximum sustained winds of 85 mph and its post-tropical cyclone is expected to dissipate near western Norway by Tuesday night.

Ireland's Met Eireann weather service said the country's southern and western counties could get gusts of up to 80 mph along with heavy rain and storm surges.

A look at the projected path for Hurricane Ophelia as forecasted on Sun., Oct. 15, 2017 as of 11 p.m. ET. U.S. National Hurricane Center

Ophelia is the farthest east an Atlantic major hurricane has existed on record, Philip Klotzbach, a meteorologist at Colorado State University, tweeted Saturday. He said the previous record was Hurricane Frances in 1980.

NHC said Hurricane Ophelia could bring 2 to 3 inches of rain in western Ireland and Scotland, with coastal flooding and "large and destructive waves" where it makes landfall.

Hurricane-force winds could reach the southern portions of Ireland by Monday afternoon, NHC said. It warned that "preparations to protect lives and property should be rushed to completion" by Sunday afternoon.

Emergency officials in Ireland said schools would be closed Monday in the eight counties expected to see the strongest winds and under a red weather alert, the highest level. Cyclists and motorists were warned to stay off the roads during the height of the storm.

surfers ireland ophelia
Surfers watch as waves approach in the Atlantic on the eve of storm Ophelia in an area where the tide should be out in the County Clare town of Lahinch, Ireland, on Sun., Oct. 15, 2017. Reuters

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar tweeted: "Defence forces being deployed in Red weather alert areas and on standby for further action tomorrow."

Dublin and Shannon airports advised passengers to check flight information before travelling, while Cork airport in southwest Ireland said cancellations were likely.

Britain's Met Office said 80-mile-an-hour gusts could hit Northern Ireland -- part of the U.K. -- and warned of potential power cuts, flying debris and disruption to transport and phone signals. Strong winds could also hit Scotland, Wales and England.

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