Tropical Storm Ophelia has strengthened off the east coast, reported< /a> the National Hurricane Center (NHC), as North Carolina and southeastern Virginia prepare for a wet and windy weekend ahead of the storm's expected arrival.
The storm, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and stronger gusts, is expected to affect areas hundreds of miles beyond its center with heavy rain and wind, storm surge and coastal flooding on the East Coast over the weekend. according to the National Hurricane Center, which has issued a tropical storm warning for portions of eastern North Carolina and Virginia to southern Maryland.
A hurricane watch was issued for portions of eastern North Carolina, where water levels were rising along parts of the coast on Friday night. Ophelia moved northwest toward the east coast on Friday at 12 mph.
Ofelia became the storm number 16 of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season on Friday afternoon.
The center of Ophelia will move across eastern North Carolina on Saturday and then into Virginia and Maryland on Sunday, weakening over land. Impacts such as rain, wind, coastal flooding and high waves will occur well before the arrival of the center of the storm.
The winds will push water towards coastal areas and into the straits. North Carolina, resulting in coastal storm surge flooding from parts of the Carolinas to the mid-Atlantic.
From Delaware to New Jersey, peak coastal flooding is expected to occur at high tide Saturday afternoon, including Lewes, Delaware and Atlantic City, New Jersey.