Ophelia Lands on North Carolina

Tropical storm made landfall Saturday, with high winds, flooding expected there, Virginia, Maryland
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 23, 2023 6:30 AM CDT
North Carolina Takes First Hit From Ophelia
Scott Bierman, a water taxi driver in Annapolis, Maryland, said the water taxi service in Maryland's capital city was shutting down at 6pm Friday due to an intensifying weather system off the mid-Atlantic coast, and the decision has already been made for water taxi service to be closed on Saturday.   (AP Photo/Brian Witte)

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on the North Carolina coast early Saturday, and it's expected to bring damaging winds and dangerous surges of water, the US National Hurricane Center said, per the AP. The storm touched down near Emerald Isle at around 6:20am ET, with maximum sustained winds of 70mph, the hurricane center noted on X, the site formerly known as Twitter. Life-threatening flooding caused by the weather system was forecast for parts of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, though the system is forecast to weaken now that it's made landfall, the hurricane center reported. Ophelia was expected to turn north Saturday and then shift northeast on Sunday.

The storm promised a weekend of windy conditions and heavy rain up to 7 inches in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, and 2 to 4 inches in the rest of the mid-Atlantic region through Sunday. A storm surge warning, indicating danger from rising water moving inland, was in effect from Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia. Surges between 4 and 6 feet were forecast in some areas, the hurricane center said. A tropical storm warning was issued from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware. A hurricane watch was in effect in North Carolina for the area north of Surf City to Ocracoke Inlet, the center reported. The governors of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland declared a state of emergency Friday, as some schools closed early and several weekend events were canceled.

North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper issued his state's emergency declaration, aiming to expedite preparations and help provide a swift response. "The storm's path has been difficult to predict and we want to ensure that farmers, first responders, and utility crews have the tools necessary to prepare for severe weather," Cooper said. The North Carolina Ferry System on Friday suspended service on all routes until conditions improve, officials said. Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin's executive order sought to ease response and recovery efforts. "We want to ensure that all communities, particularly those with the greatest anticipated impact, have the resources they need to respond and recover from the effects of this storm," Youngkin said, encouraging residents to prepare emergency kits and follow weather forecasts closely.

story continues below

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore said in a statement Friday evening that the state expected an extended period of strong winds, heavy rainfall, and elevated tides. In Washington, the Nationals baseball team postponed its Saturday game until Sunday. It's not uncommon for one or two tropical storms, or even hurricanes, to form off the East Coast each year, National Hurricane Center Director Michael Brennan said. "We're right at the peak of hurricane season, we can basically have storms form anywhere across much of the Atlantic basin," Brennan said. Scientists say climate change could result in hurricanes expanding their reach into mid-latitude regions more often, making storms like this month's Hurricane Lee more common.

(More Tropical Storm Ophelia stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.