Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on Saturday morning in North Carolina, bringing with it powerful winds and heavy rain that extended into New Jersey. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph at landfall, just shy of hurricane strength. Ophelia is currently tracking North-Northwest and moving through Eastern North Carolina, and is expected to move into Virginia and Maryland on Saturday night and Sunday before heading towards New York.
In anticipation of the storm, the governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia declared a state of emergency, as the National Weather Service projected two to five inches of rain and possible flooding throughout the region. Coastal areas, like the Chesapeake Bay and lower Potomac, were particularly at risk. Storm surge and tropical storm warnings were issued in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland.
The Coast Guard had to rescue five people from an anchored 38-foot catamaran in Cape Lookout, North Carolina, on Friday night due to weather conditions caused by Tropical Storm Ophelia. Wind gusts of up to 60 mph were reported in Delaware and at the Jersey Shore, leading to some ponding on roads and sidewalks.
As of 8 p.m. Saturday update, all storm surge and tropical storm warnings have been discontinued, as the storm lost strength. However, a coastal flood warning is in effect in Anne Arundel County in Maryland, with up to 2 feet of inundation possible. Other coastal flood advisories are also in effect for areas in D.C., Fairfax, Stafford, and parts of Prince William counties.
Ophelia was downgraded from a tropical storm to a depression on Saturday evening as it approached Richmond. It continues to endanger the Mid-Atlantic Coast with high gusts, coastal flooding, and life-threatening rip currents. The storm is expected to move across southeastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula before heading north towards New Jersey.
Maryland Governor Wes Moore urged residents to remain vigilant and follow instructions from local officials during this state of emergency. He advised against driving or being out during the storm, as strong winds, heavy rainfall, and elevated tides are expected.
Tropical Storm Ophelia also caused flash flooding in eastern North Carolina, leading to several inches of rain. The heaviest rains were concentrated in northeastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia, pushing towards the Delmarva area. Another area of rain extended across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southern New York, and southern New England, with 2-4 inch storm totals expected along its track.
Overall, Tropical Storm Ophelia brought significant impacts to the East Coast, including strong winds, storm surge, heavy rain, and flooding. Residents are advised to stay updated on the latest weather conditions and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety.
0. “NFL Week 3 weather: Tropical Storm Ophelia may impact Bills at Commanders, Colts at Ravens, Patriots at Jets” CBS Sports, 23 Sep. 2023, https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/nfl-week-3-weather-tropical-storm-ophelia-may-impact-bills-at-commanders-colts-at-ravens-patriots-at-jets
1. “Tropical Storm Philippe forms as Tropical Storm Ophelia moves inland” Orlando Sentinel, 24 Sep. 2023, https://www.orlandosentinel.com/2023/09/23/tropical-storm-ophelia-makes-landfall-as-new-tropical-depression-likely-nhc-says
2. “Ophelia weakens to tropical depression as it dumps inches of rain along upper East Coast” CNN, 24 Sep. 2023, https://www.cnn.com/2023/09/23/weather/east-coast-tropical-storm-threat-saturday/index.html
3. “Coast Guard rescues 5 from sailing vessel during Tropical Storm Ophelia” U.S. Coast Guard, 23 Sep. 2023, https://www.news.uscg.mil/Press-Releases/Article/3535789/coast-guard-rescues-5-from-sailing-vessel-during-tropical-storm-ophelia
4. “Live N.J. power outage tracker: Tropical Storm Ophelia winds knock out power to thousands” NJ.com, 23 Sep. 2023, https://www.nj.com/weather/2023/09/live-nj-power-outage-tracker-tropical-storm-ophelia-winds-knock-out-power-to-thousands.html
5. “Ophelia weakens as it moves through Maryland” WBAL TV Baltimore, 24 Sep. 2023, https://www.wbaltv.com/article/tropical-storm-ophelia-maryland-weather/45264269
6. “Ophelia Downgraded To A Tropical Depression: Rain Forecast Sunday” Just In Weather, 24 Sep. 2023, https://justinweather.com/2023/09/23/ophelia-downgraded-to-a-tropical-depression-rain-forecast-sunday/
7. “Ophelia downgraded to tropical depression, heavy rain still rolls through DC region” WTOP, 24 Sep. 2023, https://wtop.com/weather-news/2023/09/ophelia-touches-down-tropical-storm-rolls-through-dc-region-over-the-weekend
8. “Updated D.C. area forecast: Rain may be heavy at times overnight as winds ease” The Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023, https://www.washingtonpost.com/weather/2023/09/23/dc-area-forecast-rain-wind/
9. “Ophelia weakens to tropical depression over Virginia” NPR, 24 Sep. 2023, https://www.npr.org/2023/09/23/1201334334/tropical-storm-ophelia-update
10. “Governor Wes Moore declares a state of emergency in Maryland” WUSA9.com, 22 Sep. 2023, https://www.wusa9.com/article/weather/maryland-under-state-of-emergency-tropical-storm-ophelia/65-704b7e24-2189-449e-8c67-248eb649724e
11. “Tracking Ophelia” News 13 Orlando, 18 Sep. 2023, https://www.mynews13.com/fl/orlando/weather/2023/09/18/tracking-ophelia
12. “Heavy rains envelop the U.S. East Coast as Ophelia pushes inland » Yale Climate Connections” Yale Climate Connections, 23 Sep. 2023, https://yaleclimateconnections.org/2023/09/heavy-rains-envelop-the-u-s-east-coast-as-ophelia-pushes-inland/