Tropical storm Ophelia deepens near North Carolina.
Ophelia is expected to have impacts extending well beyond its center.
Coastal areas are expected to bear the brunt of the storm.
Tropical Storm Ophelia is rapidly intensifying off the East Coast, causing increased concern and prompting preparations throughout the region.
With maximum sustained winds now reaching 70 mph and even stronger gusts, Ophelia is expected to have impacts extending well beyond its center. This includes heavy rainfall and powerful winds in its path.
As the storm tracks north-northwestward toward the East Coast at a speed of approximately 13 mph, a hurricane watch has been issued for specific areas along the eastern coast of North Carolina.
Ophelia’s center is projected to approach the North Carolina coast on Friday night, potentially posing significant challenges for coastal residents.
While the storm’s path could take it dangerously close to the warm waters of the Gulf Stream, which could lead to further strengthening, the most likely scenario remains heavy rain and strong winds as the storm heads toward eastern North Carolina.
Coastal areas are expected to bear the brunt of the storm, experiencing heavy rainfall, strong winds, and the possibility of power outages.
The threat is significant enough that North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper has declared a state of emergency across the entire state, ensuring that emergency response teams are prepared to act swiftly.
Tropical storm warnings have been issued along the coast, stretching from just south of Charleston, South Carolina, up to the Maryland-Delaware state line. Additionally, storm surge warnings are in effect from Surf City, North Carolina, to the Chesapeake Bay, necessitating thorough preparations.
In addition to the primary concerns of heavy rain and strong winds, the region is also on alert for the potential development of tornadoes, particularly along the coastal mid-Atlantic.
Eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia are expected to receive the heaviest rainfall, with forecasts indicating 3 to 5 inches of rain, and isolated areas possibly receiving up to 7 inches due to concentrated thunderstorm bands.
Residents from the mid-Atlantic to southern New England should remain vigilant, as 2 to 4 inches of rainfall are expected from late Friday through the weekend.
Coastal areas should also anticipate hazardous storm surge, coastal flooding, rip currents, and rough surf. Surge levels of 1 to 5 feet are possible in various areas, particularly in inlets and rivers from Surf City, North Carolina, to Manasquan Inlet on the New Jersey shore.
With the highest risk of storm surge flooding coinciding with Saturday’s high tides, areas from New Jersey to the Virginia Tidewater are urged to exercise caution.
Flood gauges across the region are expected to reach moderate or major flood levels on Saturday, highlighting the potential for homes and businesses closest to the coast to flood and for roads to become impassable.