Tropical Storm Ophelia: Impact and Preparations as it Makes Landfall in North Carolina

On a Saturday morning, satellite images provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration captured the dramatic moment when Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina. This coastal state witnessed the arrival of Ophelia, which had intensified, bringing with it near-hurricane force winds. Here’s a breakdown of the key points regarding the storm’s impact and the measures taken to mitigate its effects.

Landfall and Intensity

Tropical Storm Ophelia officially made landfall near Emerald Isle, N.C., around 6:15 a.m. ET, with maximum winds reaching 70 mph, as reported by the National Hurricane Center. The intensity of the storm prompted the issuance of a hurricane watch spanning approximately 130 miles from north of Surf City to Ocracoke Inlet in North Carolina. Although the storm was initially formidable, forecasters anticipate that it will weaken after landfall.

State of Emergency Declared

Recognizing the potential risks associated with Tropical Storm Ophelia, the governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia declared a state of emergency the day before the storm’s arrival. This declaration aimed to streamline response efforts and ensure the safety of residents and resources in the affected areas.

Warnings and Watches

Several warnings and watches remain in effect to protect vulnerable coastal regions. A tropical storm warning extends from Cape Fear, N.C., to Fenwick Island, Del., encompassing Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in North Carolina and parts of the Tidal Potomac River in Maryland. Additionally, areas from Surf City to Bogue Inlet in North Carolina, along with Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds, are under a storm surge watch. Further south, a storm surge warning has been issued from Bogue Inlet, N.C., to Chincoteague, Va., encompassing Chesapeake Bay and other waterways in the region.

Precipitation and Flooding

The storm’s arrival brings significant rainfall to the region. Between 3 to 5 inches of rain is expected in parts of eastern North Carolina and southeast Virginia, with some areas possibly receiving up to 7 inches of precipitation. Meanwhile, the Mid-Atlantic into southern New England is forecasted to receive 2 to 4 inches of rain, posing the risk of flash floods, urban flooding, and small stream flooding. Southern New York through southern New England could also experience 1 to 3 inches of rainfall.

Coastal Flooding

Coastal areas, especially those near the Outer Banks, face significant flooding risks. Swells generated by Ophelia may result in life-threatening surf and rip current conditions across the Mid-Atlantic coastline. Furthermore, areas from Surf City, N.C., to Chincoteague, Va., could see flooding of 2 to 4 feet if the storm surge coincides with high tide. Particular concerns surround coastal stretches bordered by the Outer Banks, including the Neuse and Bay rivers and the Pamlico and Pungo rivers, where floodwaters are expected to rise between 4 and 6 feet.


Tropical Storm Ophelia’s impact on North Carolina and the surrounding regions is significant. With the storm making landfall, residents, authorities, and emergency services are working diligently to mitigate the risks posed by strong winds, heavy rainfall, and coastal flooding. Keeping up-to-date with official warnings and taking necessary precautions is crucial for everyone in the affected areas.

What Caught Our Attention: Ophelia’s Remarkable Details

What time did Tropical Storm Ophelia hit North Carolina?

Tropical Storm Ophelia hit North Carolina at precisely 6:15 a.m. ET on a Saturday morning. The storm made landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, and it arrived with near-hurricane force strength, unleashing powerful winds, torrential rains, and a hazardous storm surge across a substantial stretch of the mid-Atlantic coast.

Is Ophelia a tropical storm?

Ophelia received a promotion to tropical storm status on Friday, just hours before its scheduled landfall in North Carolina. This upgrade marked the formal recognition of its strength and impact. As the storm approached, North Carolina was bracing for the potential of elevated storm surge levels.

Will Ophelia hit the Outer Banks?

On Friday, Ophelia was positioned approximately 90 miles south of Cape Hatteras, suggesting potential impacts on the Outer Banks. The storm was tracking in a north-northwest direction at a speed of approximately 12 mph. It’s important to note that Ophelia had been upgraded to tropical storm status just hours before, with its imminent landfall in North Carolina.

How will Hurricane Ophelia affect New England?

While the coastal regions face the brunt of Hurricane Ophelia with its fierce winds and heavy rainfall, even some inland communities in southern New England can expect impacts. The reach of tropical-storm-force winds, ranging from 39 to 73 mph, extends outward up to 310 miles from the center of Ophelia, as reported by the hurricane center. This means that areas beyond the coast should remain vigilant for potential storm-related effects.

Where did Ophelia make landfall in NC?

Emerald Isle

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina near Emerald Isle on a Saturday morning. Its arrival brought heavy rain, destructive winds, and perilous surges of water to the eastern regions of the state.

Where is Tropical Storm Ophelia going to hit?

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall near a North Carolina barrier island, impacting coastal North Carolina and parts of Virginia with flooding, rain, damaging winds, and hazardous surges. The storm’s path primarily affected these coastal regions.

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