Ophelia upgraded to tropical storm as it nears North Carolina coast
Written by ABC Audio ALL RIGHTS RESERVED on September 22, 2023
(NEW YORK) — Tropical Storm Ophelia has formed off the coast of North Carolina on Friday afternoon with maximum sustained winds of 60 mph.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued for four states from North Carolina to Maryland. Flood watches have been issued for portions of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, including Richmond. Coastal flood warnings are in effect along the coast too, stretching into Delaware and southern New Jersey, including Atlantic City
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency on Friday ahead of the storm to mobilize resources, with impacts to the commonwealth “likely,” he said.
Ophelia is forecast to bring strong winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and coastal flooding from Carolinas all the way to southern New England.
The rain, tropical storm-force winds and storm surge will reach parts of the Carolinas and the Mid-Atlantic coast late Friday into Saturday. The latest track from the National Hurricane Center has it possibly strengthening a bit more as it closes in on the North Carolina coast going into Friday night.
The storm is forecast to make landfall as a tropical storm along the North Carolina coast Saturday morning with winds near 60 mph and higher gusts.
The tropical storm warning covers cities including Wilmington, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Ocean City, Maryland. Storm surge warnings have also been issued for parts of the North Carolina and southeastern Virginia coasts.
The heaviest rain — up to 6 inches — is possible in eastern North Carolina and Virginia. Coastal flooding is possible.
By Saturday morning, the heavy rain will be pushing north through the Interstate 95 corridor, hitting Washington, D.C., to Philadelphia to New York City.
Around 3 inches of rain is possible in coastal areas from North Carolina to New Jersey.
The highest storm surge will be in North Carolina where water could rise up to 5 feet. Storm surge of 1 to 3 feet is possible all the way to the Jersey Shore.
Up to 7 inches is possible in North Carolina and up to 4 inches is possible all the way through Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and into southern New England. This heavy rain could cause flash flooding for urban areas along the Interstate 95 corridor.
Ophelia will weaken after landfall Saturday morning. The current forecast calls for it to remain a tropical storm through Saturday evening and weaken to a tropical depression or become a post-tropical system by Saturday night or early Sunday morning.
The rain and gusty winds will persist throughout Saturday and then likely weaken by the evening. But the clouds and showers are forecast to stick around for parts of the Northeast on Sunday as the storm slowly leaves the region.
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