Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, on a Saturday morning, bringing with it strong winds and heavy rain. The storm is now expected to move inland along the East Coast, causing coastal flooding and power outages in its wake.
Ophelia reached the coast with sustained winds of 70 mph, just below hurricane strength. Its tropical-storm force winds extend up to 310 miles from the center, resulting in power disruptions for over 70,000 homes and businesses across the mid-Atlantic and North Carolina, as reported by PowerOutage.us.
As of 8 a.m., Ophelia’s winds had decreased to 65 mph, and it is anticipated to weaken further as it progresses inland. However, there is a possibility of additional power outages as the storm affects more regions.
According to the National Hurricane Center, Ophelia is on course to traverse eastern North Carolina, then move through southeastern Virginia before heading north across the Delmarva Peninsula during the weekend.
The storm’s expansive rain shield covers a wide area, leading to significant rainfall across the mid-Atlantic, impacting states such as Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, and New York.
The most severe impacts are concentrated along North Carolina’s coastal areas, where the center of the storm has caused storm surge flooding and inlets to become inundated. Cape Lookout, situated along the state’s Outer Banks, experienced wind gusts of up to 73 mph.
The onset of flooding began on Friday, submerging roads in coastal communities along North Carolina’s coast. On Cedar Island, water collected on Highway 12, though it remained open and passable, as reported by the state transportation department. Nevertheless, the department urged residents to avoid travel unless absolutely necessary due to the presence of sand and water on the roadways and the inclement weather.
In New Bern, a city located about 120 miles east of Raleigh and along two rivers, roads were flooded, and water levels rose in the downtown area, according to city officials on Facebook. Images shared on the city’s social media page depicted a flooded children’s park and ducks navigating the floodwaters all over the streets.