According to the U.S. National Hurricane Center, Tropical Storm Ophelia was forecast to make landfall early on Saturday morning along the coast of North Carolina and could bring with it strong gusts and potentially life-threatening sea surges.
According to a center update at 11 p.m. on Friday, the weather system was expected to create life-threatening flooding in some areas of eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia.
Late on Friday, Ophelia had spun into a tropical storm and was about 70 miles (115 kilometers) south of Cape Lookout, North Carolina, moving north-northwest at 12 mph (19 kph).
The hurricane center said that the system had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph (113 kph), with some stronger gusts, but that it was expected to decrease after making landfall.
Ophelia was predicted to move northeast on Sunday after turning north on Saturday. Through Sunday, the storm was forecast to bring windy weather and heavy rain to sections of North Carolina and Virginia, where it may reach 7 inches (18 centimeters), and to the rest of the mid-Atlantic region, where it would reach 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 centimeters).
From Bogue Inlet, North Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia, there was a storm surge warning, signaling risk from increasing water heading inland. The hurricane center predicted that there may be surges in some regions between 4 and 6 feet (1.2 and 1.8 meters).
From Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware, there was a tropical storm warning in effect. According to the center, there was a hurricane watch in place for North Carolina from Ocracoke Inlet north to Surf City.
As a result of several schools closing early and numerous weekend events being postponed, the governors of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland on Friday announced a state of emergency.
Gov. Roy Cooper of North Carolina declared a state of emergency in an effort to hasten planning and aid in a prompt response.
Cooper stated that because it has been challenging to anticipate the storm’s route, it is important to make sure that utility personnel, farmers, and first responders have the equipment they need to be prepared for severe weather.
According to officials, the North Carolina Ferry System has suspended all routes of operation until the situation improves.
The executive order issued by Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin aimed to simplify response and recovery activities.
Youngkin urged locals to gather emergency supplies and pay close attention to weather forecasts, saying, “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.”
The state of Maryland is anticipating an extended period of severe winds, heavy rains, and high seas, according to a statement released by Maryland Governor Wes Moore on Friday evening.
Scott Bierman, a water taxi driver in Annapolis, the capital of Maryland, announced that service would be suspended on Saturday.
According to Bierman, “We don’t operate when it’s going to endanger passengers or damage vessels.”
The Nationals baseball team in Washington rescheduled their Saturday game for Sunday.
According to Michael Brennan, director of the National Hurricane Center, it is usual for one or two tropical storms or even hurricanes to develop off the East Coast each year.
Since the Atlantic basin is so large, storms can essentially originate anywhere as we are in the height of hurricane season, according to Brennan.
According to scientists, climate change may cause hurricanes to more frequently reach mid-latitude zones, increasing the frequency of storms like last month’s Hurricane Lee.
In one study, tropical cyclone paths from pre-industrial, present, and future periods with increased emissions were all simulated. It was discovered that hurricanes would occur more frequently in the Southeast coast and would track closer to the shore, particularly near Boston, New York, and Virginia.
Nancy Shoemaker and her husband Bob went to a park near the water in the center of Annapolis to get sandbags. Sandbags they had in their yard in October were destroyed by a storm’s water surge.
Nancy Shoemaker stated, “We’re hopeful it won’t be that way this time. “It can look like the ocean out there if we have a lot of wind and a lot of surge, so that’s a problem.”