WILTSHIRE is being bathed in a murky red glow because of Storm Ophelia today.

Known as a 'hurricane sun', the hazy weather is understood to be the result of the tail-end of what was hurricane Ophelia heading for the UK.

Weather experts have countered views that sand from the Sahara disturbed by Ophelia is causing the sky to have an unusual red tint today.

Instead it believed to be caused by dust blown from west of Portugal coupled with a lack of rain as the cold front of Ophelia moved across southern Britain this morning, failing to wash the dust out.

Meanwhile a woman has died after a tree fell on her car as hurricane-force winds from Storm Ophelia batter Ireland and the UK.

The motorist, in her 70s, was driving close to the village of Aglish in Waterford, Ireland, when the tree hit her car.

Meanwhile, scores of homes were without power, schools closed early, trees fell onto roads and bridges were shut on the UK mainland.

Remnants of the hurricane battered Britain's west coast on Monday afternoon, with gusts of up to 80mph, exactly 30 years after the Great Storm of 1987 in which 18 people died.

Around 200 properties in Wales suffered power cuts, a number of schools closed early and the Cleddau Bridge was shut to high-sided vehicles, Pembrokeshire County Council said.

Flood warnings are also in place along the Pembrokeshire coast, parts of west Scotland, north-west England and Cornwall.

Winds of between 40mph to 60mph are forecast across the region today with Storm Ophelia hitting the UK mainland at around midday, with a "danger to life" warning in parts of the country.

Planes have been grounded at Manchester and Dublin airports.

Schools and colleges were closed in Northern Ireland, which is covered with an amber weather warning - meaning there is a "potential risk to life and property", issued when forecasters believe people need to be prepared to change their plans and protect themselves from the impacts of severe weather.

The storm is expected to move across to Wales, northern England and Scotland throughout Monday.

High winds are expected across the entire region, while a yellow warning is in place for much of Wales, Scotland, north east England, north west England, south west England and the West Midlands.

Parts of Scotland and Wales have also been upgraded to amber.

Forecasters are warning of flying debris, such as tiles blown from roofs, as well as large waves around coastal districts with beach material being thrown on to coastal roads, sea fronts and properties.

A school in Cork lost its roof in the 50mph winds which hit the west of Ireland.

"The centre of Ophelia will be to the south-west of Ireland on Monday morning," Met weatherman Grahame Madge said.

"It's due to come over the west coast of Ireland around midday and as it goes through the day it will be centre over to the north of Northern Ireland.

"It will be gradually easing up into Scotland overnight and into Tuesday morning - it's weakening as it goes.

"Parts of England, areas like the North West, are covered by a warning. The impacts will be felt in northern England into Tuesday.

"Winds will be 50-60mph, possibly gusting to 70mph, even in the yellow warning areas."

In Ireland, Met Eireann has issued a "status red" weather alert for Galway, Mayo, Clare, Cork and Kerry, warning of severe winds and stormy conditions.

Met Office forecaster Luke Miall said that while storms with these wind speeds tend to happen at this time of year, the one on its way is "quite a substantial system", adding that he would describe it as "pretty exceptional".

Loganair in Scotland is offering free flight changes on routes that could be hit by the severe weather conditions.

The airline said at the moment it still intends operating a normal full schedule on Monday and Tuesday.

The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has three battalions - 1,200 personnel in total - permanently on standby to assist with contingencies.

But an MoD spokesman said it has not yet received requests from any local authority for assistance.

Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk, said today: "If you were planning to travel this week only to find your flight has been cancelled because of Storm Ophelia, it’s crucial you know your rights so you don’t end up out of pocket.

"If your flight is cancelled you’re entitled to a refund within 7 days or an alternative flight; if you need to travel to a different airport to take it you should ask the airline to pay. It must be the airline’s fault for you to be entitled to compensation.

"Extraordinary circumstances, such as bad weather will not automatically entitle you to claim for inconvenience– but it’s always worth asking. It’s not confirmed that all flights will be affected so the key thing is to check with your airline before you travel to the airport.

You are entitled to assistance, including the choice between:

  • A full refund of the cost of your ticket
  • An alternative flight to your final destination at the earliest opportunity
  • An alternative flight at a later date of your choosing, subject to availability

If you choose an alternative flight to your final destination at the earliest opportunity, you are also entitled to:

  • Food and drink if your wait is over two hours
  • Hotel accommodation where a stay of one or more nights is necessary
  • Two phone calls or emails
  • Airlines must offer assistance until they can get you to your destination, but your right to compensation only applies if the cause of the delay is within the airline's control.

Contact the airline

  • Your first step should be to contact the airline, who may give you a claims form if you contact them by phone or visit their website

She said: "If bad weather means your train is cancelled make sure you get a full refund. If it’s delayed by more than 15 minutes you could claim compensation too so make sure you submit a claim. Thanks to the Delay Repay scheme most train companies will compensate you even if bad weather is to blame.

“If your home has been hit by storm damage your insurer should step up to the game. Speak to your insurer ASAP as they may need you to take emergency steps to minimise the devastation until they can process your claim and sort proper repairs.

"Take photos of the damage and note down the time it took place so the insurer can tally this up with weather reports. When you make your claim submit ‘before’ photos if you have them proving the state of your property before Ophelia hit!

"It’s the buildings insurance part of your policy that will pay out so if you’re a homeowner that’s got contents-only cover you could be left footing the bill. If you’re a tenant speak to your landlord who will need to make a claim on their insurance or cover the cost.

"Chances are you won’t get much back if your garden or shed has been obliterated. Most home insurance policies offer little in the way of cover for property outside your home although it’s always worth checking.

"Of course, if a tree from your neighbour’s garden has fallen into yours you may be able to make a liability claim via their insurance.”