Post-Tropical Cyclone Ophelia continues to threaten heavy rains and flooding in major metro areas like Washington, DC, and New York City, according to forecasters, after making landfall in North Carolina early Saturday.
The storm, which triggered states of emergency in North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland, has sustained winds of 35mph, and is moving northeast at 8mph. The system is expected to hover above Delaware on Sunday evening, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
On Sunday morning, 6,000 customers were without electricity in New Jersey, and nearly 2,000 lacked power in North Carolina.
NHC warned that even though the storm has been downgraded from a full tropical storm, it could still flood portions of the Chesapeake Bay and its tidal rivers on Sunday.
“Heavy rainfall from Ophelia may produce localised flash and urban flooding impacts across portions of Mid-Atlantic states from Virginia to New Jersey through today,” the NHC wrote on Sunday. “Swells generated by Ophelia will affect much of the US east coast through the remainder of the weekend, likely causing life-threatening surf and rip currents.”
The storm is expected to weaken through Sunday and Monday, though gusts of wind could rip out trees from satured soil and ground power lines, AccuWeatherreported.
On Saturday, coastal communities were inundated with water along the New Jersey Shore. One storm chaser captured striking video of 30mph winds blowing ocean water across the highway in Avalon.
— National Hurricane Center (@NHC_Atlantic) September 24, 2023
Flood advisorys remain for the Jersey Shore through 9pm Sunday, NJ.com reports.
The New Jersey counties of Atlantic, Cape May, and Ocean are forecasted to get at least 4 inches of rain on Sunday.
The storm prompted the busy Chesapeake Bay Bridge to operate under full wind restrictions, limiting large trucks over safety concerns. It also hit communities like Washington, North Carolina, hard, flooding homes and submerging vehicles.
During the worst of the storm on Saturday, nearly 8 million people across the mid-Atlantic region were under tropical storm, storm surge, and flooding warnings.
Even before Opehlia made landfall, the US Coast Guard rescued five people, including three children, from a stranded catamaran anchored in stormy waters in Cape Lookout, North Carolina.
As Ophelia wanes, a new tropical storm, Philippe, is forming in the Atlantic near west Africa’s Cabo Verde Islands.