Flood Warnings Persist on Mid-Atlantic Coast as Ophelia Degenerates into Post-Tropical Low and Advances Northward

by Ryan Lee
Ophelia Flood Warnings Mid-Atlantic

The U.S. National Hurricane Center reported that Ophelia, once a tropical storm, was demoted to a post-tropical low on Saturday evening. Nonetheless, the weather system continues to threaten the mid-Atlantic states with coastal and flash flooding.

Inhabitants of specific coastal regions in North Carolina and Virginia confronted flooding conditions on Saturday as the storm came ashore near a barrier island in North Carolina. The system delivered rainfall, hazardous winds, and perilous tidal surges.

As of 11 p.m. on Saturday, the National Hurricane Center indicated that Ophelia, now a debilitated version of its former self, was situated approximately 30 miles (50 kilometers) south-southwest of Richmond, Virginia, and roughly 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. The storm sustained maximum winds of 35 mph (55 kph), with occasional stronger gusts.

Authorities maintained coastal flood warnings and flood advisories for certain parts of the impacted region.

The National Hurricane Center forecasted that Ophelia’s core is anticipated to veer toward the north-northeast and northeast directions, passing through eastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula during the course of Sunday.

Rainfall estimates indicate that regions stretching from Virginia to New Jersey could accumulate 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.6 centimeters) of rain, with localized areas possibly receiving up to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters). Several shore communities in New Jersey, including Sea Isle City, had already encountered flooding by Saturday.

Adjacent areas in southeastern New York and southern New England are also forecasted to amass 1 to 3 inches of rain. Meanwhile, surf conditions are likely to affect a broad swath of the East Coast throughout the weekend.

Philippe Papin, a specialist in hurricane studies with the center, emphasized that the primary ongoing risk associated with this weather system would be flooding caused by rainfall. “Though tropical storm-force winds have been observed, they are beginning to progressively diminish as the system advances further inland. Nevertheless, significant flood risks remain a concern for a vast region extending from eastern North Carolina into southern Virginia over the ensuing 12 to 24 hours,” he stated in an early Saturday interview.

Ophelia initially made landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, on Saturday morning, boasting near-hurricane-force winds of 70 mph (113 kph). However, the winds slackened as the system moved northward.

Visual evidence from social media revealed significant flooding in riverside communities in North Carolina, including New Bern, Belhaven, and Washington. The full extent of the damage remains to be ascertained.

Prior to touching land, the storm was perilous enough to necessitate the Coast Guard’s rescue of five individuals, among whom were three children aged 10 or below, on Friday evening. They were stranded on a 38-foot (12-meter) catamaran in Lookout Bight near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, grappling with turbulent waters and robust winds.

After receiving a distress call via cellphone, the Coast Guard initiated a nocturnal rescue operation, deploying flares to navigate to the sailboat, assisting the stranded individuals, and subsequently leaving the boat behind. A Coast Guard helicopter illuminated the return route to the station. No injuries were reported.

By Saturday afternoon, tens of thousands of residential and commercial structures in North Carolina were still without electrical power, according to data from poweroutage.us. A map from Duke Energy depicted widespread power outages in eastern North Carolina, largely due to winds that had downed tree limbs and disrupted power lines.

Jeff Brooks, a spokesperson for Duke Energy, informed WTVD-TV, “When a slow-moving storm combines several inches of rain with gusts reaching 30 to 40 miles per hour, it’s sufficient to topple trees or bring down branches.”

In contrast, Brian Haines, who speaks for the North Carolina Division of Emergency Management, reported fallen trees but no significant road closures.

At the southern extremity of North Carolina’s Outer Banks, Carl Cannon Jr. expressed hopes of salvaging portions of the Beaufort Pirate Invasion, a multi-day event commemorating the 1747 Spanish attack on the town. Gale-force winds had dismantled the central tent designated for a Saturday banquet, while other tents suffered damage or were completely destroyed.

Cannon Jr. was optimistic that the inclement weather would permit pirate reenactors to engage in a skirmish in Beaufort on Sunday. “If the conditions allow, boats will be dispatched for an attack, and a shoreline battle will ensue,” he commented.

State of emergency declarations were issued by the governors of North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland on Friday.

Michael Brennan, Director of the National Hurricane Center, reminded that the formation of one or two tropical storms, or even hurricanes, off the East Coast annually is not an anomaly. “We are currently in the pinnacle of the hurricane season and storms can potentially materialize across a large portion of the Atlantic basin,” he said in a Friday interview.

Scientific research suggests that climate change could cause hurricanes to more frequently infiltrate mid-latitude zones, making phenomena like this month’s Hurricane Lee increasingly common. One study simulated the trajectories of tropical cyclones from pre-industrial, contemporary, and future high-emission scenarios. It concluded that hurricanes are increasingly likely to form closer to coastlines, including those of Boston, New York City, and Virginia, especially along the Southeastern coast.

In some locales impacted by Saturday’s storm, the effects were relatively subdued. Aaron Montgomery, a 38-year-old resident of Williamsburg, Virginia, noticed a roof leak in his family’s newly acquired home. Despite this, they were able to drive to Virginia Beach for his wife’s birthday celebration. “Though any roof leak is noteworthy, it is an issue that we intend to address come Monday,” he noted.

This report is contributed by Mattise from Nashville, Tennessee. Additional contributions come from AP Radio reporter Jackie Quinn in Washington, and AP writers Ron Todt in Philadelphia, Sudhin Thanawala in Atlanta, and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles.

For further updates on climate coverage, visit: Climate and Environment News

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Ophelia Flood Warnings Mid-Atlantic

What happened to Tropical Storm Ophelia?

Tropical Storm Ophelia was downgraded to a post-tropical low on Saturday evening. Despite the downgrade, it continued to pose a threat of coastal and flash flooding in the mid-Atlantic region, affecting states such as North Carolina and Virginia.

Where did Ophelia make landfall?

Ophelia made landfall near a barrier island in North Carolina, bringing with it rain, damaging winds, and dangerous surges that led to flooding in parts of North Carolina and Virginia.

What is the current status of Ophelia as of Saturday night?

As of 11 p.m. on Saturday, Ophelia was located about 30 miles south-southwest of Richmond, Virginia, and about 85 miles southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. The system had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph with higher gusts.

What regions are under flood warnings or watches?

Coastal flood warnings and flood watches have been issued for portions of the mid-Atlantic region, including parts of Virginia and North Carolina. These advisories remained in effect as of the latest reports.

What is the forecasted trajectory for Ophelia?

The center of Ophelia is expected to move in a north-northeast and northeast direction, crossing through eastern Virginia and the Delmarva Peninsula during Sunday.

What are the expected rainfall amounts?

Areas from Virginia to New Jersey are likely to receive 1 to 3 inches of rain, with some places receiving up to 5 inches. Southeastern New York and southern New England could also experience similar rainfall amounts.

What is the primary ongoing risk associated with Ophelia?

The primary risk going forward is the threat of floods caused by significant rainfall, according to Philippe Papin, a hurricane specialist with the National Hurricane Center.

Were there any rescue operations associated with Ophelia?

Yes, the Coast Guard rescued five individuals, including three children aged 10 or below, who were stranded on a 38-foot catamaran in Lookout Bight near Cape Lookout, North Carolina.

What is the status of power outages in affected areas?

Tens of thousands of residential and commercial structures in North Carolina remained without electrical power as of Saturday afternoon.

What do experts say about the increasing frequency of storms like Ophelia?

Scientific research indicates that due to climate change, hurricanes could more frequently affect mid-latitude regions, making phenomena like this month’s Hurricane Lee increasingly common.

More about Ophelia Flood Warnings Mid-Atlantic

  • U.S. National Hurricane Center Updates
  • Power Outage Status in North Carolina
  • Virginia Coastal Flood Warnings
  • New Jersey Shore Flooding Reports
  • Climate Change and Increased Frequency of Storms Study
  • Delmarva Peninsula Weather Advisory
  • Philippe Papin’s Interview on Ophelia’s Risks
  • State of Emergency Declarations for North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland
  • AP’s Climate and Environment Coverage

You may also like


BeachLover September 24, 2023 - 2:36 pm

Went down to Virginia Beach for my wife’s bday and the weather was crazy. Good thing it cleared up for a bit. But Ophelia sure left her mark.

ConcernedMom September 24, 2023 - 5:07 pm

Is it just me or are storms getting worse every year? Thinking of all the families affected by this.

HikerJane September 24, 2023 - 11:35 pm

If you’re planning outdoor activities, better check the weather advisory first. Learn from my mistake folks.

JohnDoe82 September 25, 2023 - 5:45 am

Wow, Ophelia sure made a mess. kinda scary to think this could be the new norm. Stay safe everyone.

SallyM September 25, 2023 - 6:02 am

Those poor people who had to be rescued by the Coast Guard. Can’t imagine how terrifying that must’ve been!

WeatherWatcher September 25, 2023 - 6:54 am

this is exactly why we need to pay attention to climate change. It’s not just about hotter summers or colder winters anymore.

LocalGuyNC September 25, 2023 - 9:51 am

Still no power at my place. gotta say, Duke Energy needs to get it together. The whole neighborhood’s in the dark!

PolicyWonk September 25, 2023 - 10:41 am

State of emergency declarations were definitely needed. Hope aid and resources get to where they need to go, and fast.


Leave a Comment


BNB – Big Big News is a news portal that offers the latest news from around the world. BNB – Big Big News focuses on providing readers with the most up-to-date information from the U.S. and abroad, covering a wide range of topics, including politics, sports, entertainment, business, health, and more.

Editors' Picks

Latest News

© 2023 BBN – Big Big News