Ophelia Strikes East Coast: Major Surge Flooding, Heavy Rain, and Strong Winds Loom

Sara Irshad
Photo by(The icon on the maps shows the system's current center.)

Ophelia's Path: Threatening Surge Flooding, Heavy Rain, and Powerful Winds

As Ophelia advances, it's set to bring a wave of formidable weather conditions along the eastern coast of the United States. From coastal flooding to torrential rainfall and gusty winds, this storm makes its presence felt. Here's what you need to know about Ophelia's journey and its potential impacts.

Coastal Flooding Alert

The mid-Atlantic region is bracing itself for what could become major coastal flooding. Ophelia's arrival is expected to push water levels to alarming heights, posing a significant threat to coastal communities.

Rainfall Flooding on the Horizon

From North Carolina to southern New England, the looming danger of rainfall flooding is a cause for concern. Ophelia is poised to unleash heavy rains, potentially leading to flash floods in areas along its path.

Gusty Winds Sweep In

As the storm advances, it's accompanied by relentless gusts of wind. Cape Lookout, North Carolina, reported a powerful wind gust of 70 mph. The impact is stretching northward, reaching as far as New Jersey.

Ophelia's Trajectory

Ophelia is set to traverse eastern North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, Maryland, and the Delmarva Peninsula. While it weakens over land, the storm's effects, including rain, wind, coastal flooding, and high surf, will manifest well before its center reaches land.

Alerts and Warnings

Authorities have issued crucial alerts and warnings to keep residents safe. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) issued a tropical storm warning for eastern parts of North Carolina, Virginia, and southern Maryland. This indicates the likelihood of tropical storm force winds, which can reach speeds of 39+ mph, spreading northward from North Carolina through Saturday.

A hurricane watch has been put in place for a portion of the southern coast of North Carolina, just in case Ophelia intensifies to a minimal hurricane. However, the impact remains similar between a 70 mph tropical storm and a low-end Category 1 hurricane.

Storm Surge Warning

One of the most concerning warnings is the storm surge alert. It spans Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia, encompassing southern Chesapeake Bay, Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, and the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers. This warning underscores the potential for life-threatening storm surge flooding within the next 36 hours.

Reports have confirmed two feet of inundation from storm surge near Great Neck, North Carolina.

Impacts of Ophelia

The peak impacts of Ophelia are expected through Saturday, with some lingering effects possible on Sunday.

Storm Surge Challenge

The onshore winds caused by Ophelia will drive water towards coastal areas, particularly in the Sounds of North Carolina. This will result in storm surge flooding affecting parts of the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic. The forecast predicts peak inundation during the predawn hours on Saturday and again on Saturday afternoon.

Coastal Flooding

Major coastal flooding could occur in areas along southern Chesapeake Bay. Roads could be submerged, and some structures not elevated might face a threat. Coastal areas from Delaware to New Jersey are also at risk, with peak flooding anticipated during Saturday afternoon's high tide.

Winds and Their Impact

Tropical storm force winds will sweep northward along the coast, covering regions under warnings from eastern North Carolina to Delaware. These powerful gusts have the potential to topple trees and cause power outages, especially in areas saturated by rain.

Heavy Rainfall Dangers

Ophelia will draw moisture northward, resulting in bands of heavy rain along and east of its track. Stalled rain bands could trigger local flash flooding, particularly in regions already grappling with coastal flooding near the Atlantic coast, tidal rivers, and bays.

Prepare for the Elements

As Ophelia's impacts unfold, residents in the affected regions must stay informed, heed warnings, and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.

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