Track Shows Impact to These States

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Tropical storm conditions are expected along the East Coast over the weekend as Tropical Storm Ophelia brings heavy rain, strong winds and coastal flooding to the Eastern Seaboard.

Ophelia marks the 16th storm system tracked by the National Hurricane Center (NHC) this year. Previously dubbed “Potential Tropical Cyclone Sixteen,” forecasters predict that the storm could dump up to a month’s worth of rain on states in its path this weekend.

The NHC said in an update Friday evening that Ophelia was expected to reach parts of southeastern North Carolina overnight into Saturday before heading up the Mid-Atlantic coast. A tropical storm warning has also been issued for parts of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland, bringing wind gusts of up to 80 mph for portions of eastern North Carolina.

This graphic created by the National Hurricane Center tracking Tropical Storm Ophelia shows an approximate representation of coastal areas under a hurricane warning (red), hurricane watch (pink), tropical storm warning (blue) and tropical storm watch (yellow) as of Friday.
National Hurricane Center

According to The Weather Channel, Ophelia was about 100 miles south of the southern coast of North Carolina as of Friday evening and moving northwest at 10 to 15 mph. The NHC said that “life-threatening” storm surges could impact parts of coastal North Carolina and southeastern Virginia as the system moves north, and hurricane conditions are possible in portions of southern North Carolina in the chance that Ophelia momentarily swells to hurricane status.

The Weather Channel reported, however, that the impact wouldn’t be much different between the tropical storm’s current strength and a “low-end Category 1 hurricane.” The system is also expected to quickly weaken once it makes landfall.

Heavy rainfall is also expected as far north as New Jersey this weekend, with Ophelia predicted to reach portions of southern Pennsylvania early Monday morning, according to the NHC. Portions of North Carolina and Virginia could receive up to seven inches of rain as the storm passes through.

Coastal flooding and life-threatening surf and rip currents are also possible throughout the East Coast, with water levels along portions of North Carolina potentially reaching up to four to six feet. Southeastern Virginia is expected to be hit with storm surges reaching two to four feet.

Tropical Storm Ophelia Wind Map
This graphic created by the National Hurricane Center tracking Tropical Storm Ophelia shows an approximate timeline of when tropical storm-force winds can be expected along the East Coast this weekend.
National Hurricane Center

Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency on Friday, stating that Ophelia was forecast to reach “large population centers with many at-risk communities.”

“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 in a press release published Friday.

Newsweek reached out to the National Hurricane Center via email Friday night for comment.

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