Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia: Heavy Rainfall Batters the Northeast

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A vehicle navigates through a flooded intersection following heavy rains from Post-tropical Cyclone Ophelia on Sunday in Crisfield, Md.

In a relentless display of nature’s fury, Post-tropical Cyclone Ophelia, though downgraded, continued to wreak havoc along the Mid-Atlantic coast from Washington, D.C. to New York last Sunday. This article sheds light on the impact and aftermath of Ophelia’s heavy rainfall, emphasizing the risks and consequences.

Flash Flooding Threat Lingers


As Ophelia weakened, it maintained the potential to trigger flash flooding. The National Hurricane Center’s final advisory on Ophelia, issued at 5 a.m. ET Sunday, warned that areas from the Mid-Atlantic to southern New England could expect rainfall ranging from 1 to 3 inches. Alongside the heavy rain, Ophelia’s swells continued to generate life-threatening surf and rip currents along the East Coast.

Tropical Storm Philippe Forms

While Ophelia lost its tropical storm status, another weather system was on the horizon. Tropical Storm Philippe was emerging in the Atlantic. As of Sunday at 5 p.m. ET, Philippe was situated 1,225 miles from the Cabo Verde Islands, moving west-northwest with maximum winds of 50 mph. Fortunately, no watches or warnings related to Philippe had been issued at that time.

Impact on Power and Infrastructure

Ophelia aftermath update: Many Laois homes will remain without electricity until Friday night - Laois Live

Ophelia’s fierce rains took a toll on the region’s infrastructure. As of Sunday afternoon, nearly 8,000 customers in Maryland and 4,700 customers in Pennsylvania were left without power, according to PowerOutage.US, which closely monitors outages nationwide.

State of Emergency Declarations

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia declared states of emergency on Friday, acting proactively in response to the impending disaster.

Record-Breaking Rainfall

Ophelia’s landfall near Emerald Isle, N.C., around 6:15 a.m. ET on Saturday, brought maximum winds of 70 mph. The storm’s path through central North Carolina resulted in downed trees and further power outages. Notably, in Raleigh, Ophelia exceeded records, dumping over 3 inches of rain on Saturday. This broke the area’s daily rainfall record, set back in 1906, by more than an inch. Nearby Fuquay-Varina received nearly 5 inches of rainfall.

Central and Southern Virginia Affected

Severe weather slams Central Virginia: Local residents capture stunning images of damage | WSET

The impact of Ophelia was not confined to North Carolina. Parts of central and southern Virginia also experienced significant rainfall, with accumulations ranging between 3 and 5 inches over the weekend.

Coastal Flooding Warnings

Post-tropical cyclone Ophelia puts millions under coastal flood alerts

A coastal flood advisory was issued for the Delaware beaches until 9 p.m. ET. The National Weather Service anticipated over a foot of rising water near shorelines and tidal waterways, compounding the challenges posed by Ophelia.

Climate Change Connection

Flooding and Climate Change: Everything You Need to Know

It’s crucial to note that the increasing frequency and severity of floods in the U.S. are linked to climate change. The combination of extreme precipitation and rising sea levels underscores the urgency of addressing climate-related challenges.

As the Northeast grapples with the aftermath of Post-tropical Cyclone Ophelia, communities are left to assess the damage and plan for a future where such events may become more frequent. The impact of Ophelia serves as a stark reminder of the importance of preparedness and climate action.

Post-tropical Cyclone Ophelia unleashes heavy rain across the Northeast, leaving in its wake a trail of destruction, power outages, and record-breaking rainfall. This event underscores the need for resilient communities and proactive climate mitigation efforts.

Exploring Ophelia’s Aftermath and Implications

Is Storm Ophelia a post-tropical cyclone?

Amidst its journey up the U.S. East Coast, Storm Ophelia underwent a significant transformation. Ophelia, initially a powerful storm, has since been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone. This shift has not diminished its impact, as it continues to unleash heavy rain and strong winds along the Atlantic Coast of the United States, according to forecasters. The transition from a tropical storm to a post-tropical cyclone underscores the dynamic nature of weather systems and the need for ongoing monitoring and preparedness in the face of evolving storms.

How did Tropical Storm Ophelia affect North Carolina?

On a fateful Saturday, Tropical Storm Ophelia made its presence known in North Carolina. It landed near Emerald Isle, N.C., delivering powerful high winds that left thousands without power. Simultaneously, flooding wreaked havoc, leading to the closure of several roadways across the Mid-Atlantic region. The North Carolina coastline bore the brunt of tropical storm conditions as Ophelia continued its northward trajectory. This impactful event highlighted the vulnerability of coastal regions to severe weather events and the need for preparedness in the face of such storms.

How much rain will Ophelia cause?

Anticipate a range of rainfall as Ophelia sweeps through affected areas. Forecasts suggest that Ophelia could bring between one to three inches of precipitation to the regions in its path. It’s essential to note that alongside the rain, forecasters have issued warnings of life-threatening surf and rip currents that will affect a significant portion of the East Coast throughout the weekend. This multifaceted impact underscores the importance of staying informed and taking precautionary measures during severe weather events.

Will Ophelia cause flooding in New England?

While Ophelia was on a path of gradual weakening and moving north-northeast, it remained a potent threat. The National Hurricane Center (NOAA) cautioned that heavy rainfall continued to pose a significant risk. This threat extended across a broad expanse, stretching from the Mid-Atlantic region into southern New England. The potential for flooding loomed large, emphasizing the need for vigilance and preparedness in these vulnerable areas as Ophelia’s impacts persisted.

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