North Carolina Storm: Weekend of Heavy Rain and Disruptions!
Tropical storm Ophelia is bringing high winds and rain to the beaches of North Carolina and Virginia early Saturday, causing power disruptions as flood and storm surge risks persist.
Beginning early Saturday and lasting over the weekend, the storm is predicted to produce heavy rain across a vast stretch of the mid-Atlantic, from as far south as North Carolina and Virginia to Delaware and New York.
However, coastal communities in North Carolina are likely to endure the brunt of the effects as the massive storm makes landfall early Saturday, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Ophelia, which was about 55 miles south-southwest of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, had maximum sustained winds approaching 70 mph as of 2 a.m. ET Saturday. The storm was traveling at approximately 12 mph when it made landfall, and it is forecast to move north along the East Coast during the weekend until it diminishes.
According to the utility tracking website PowerOutage.us, approximately 40,000 households and businesses in North Carolina and Virginia had lost power by early Saturday.
“The combination of a dangerous storm surge and the tide will cause normally dry areas near the coast to be flooded by rising waters moving inland from the shoreline,” warned the hurricane center.
• Hurricane watch: There is a storm watch for the area north of Surf City, North Carolina, to Ocracoke Inlet. The state is also in a state of emergency.
• Storm surge threat: Storm surges are a danger. From Surf City, North Carolina, to the Chesapeake Bay, storm surge watches and warnings are in place. When strong winds raise the water level and push it toward the shore, this is called a storm surge. Some places along the coast of North Carolina started to get more water on Friday night.
• Dangerous flooding: The disaster management department of North Carolina says the chance of flash flooding during the night has gone up in eastern North Carolina. The department said that storm surges are likely along the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers.
Flooding had already begun on Friday in villages along North Carolina’s coast. Water accumulated on Highway 12 in coastal Cedar Island, however, it was open and passable, according to the state transportation agency.
“But please don’t go out tonight unless you absolutely have to. There is sand and water on the roadway, and it’s dark and stormy,” the department stated on social media.
Evening update: NC12 is open and passable, but please don’t go out tonight unless you absolutely have to. There is sand and water on the roadway, and it’s dark and stormy. If you must travel, SLOW DOWN and drive with EXTREME CAUTION. pic.twitter.com/VCObjo9fY3
— NCDOT NC12 (@NCDOT_NC12) September 23, 2023
According to the hurricane center, Ophelia will pass across eastern North Carolina and then southeastern Virginia before continuing north across the Delmarva Peninsula on Saturday and Sunday.
Strong winds from the storm could potentially knock out power in some areas, particularly along the coast. According to the hurricane center, tropical storm-force winds of 39 to 73 mph reach outward up to 300 miles from Ophelia’s core.
Because of the storm’s probable impact, Maryland’s governor proclaimed a state of emergency.
“If you can avoid driving or being out during the storm please do so. We are expecting an extended period of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and elevated tides,” Maryland Gov. Wes Moore stated.
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While the storm threatens to pound coastal areas with high winds and rain, several interior villages in southern New England will still be affected.
The hurricane center warned that “Heavy rainfall from this system could produce locally considerable flash, and urban flooding impacts across portions of the Mid-Atlantic states from North Carolina to New Jersey through Sunday,”
The hurricane agency also warned that the storm could bring dangerous waves and rip currents to the East Coast over the weekend.
Surges of one to five feet are likely in some regions, particularly in inlets and rivers from Surf City, North Carolina, to Manasquan Inlet on the New Jersey coast.
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