The National Hurricane Center reported Friday on the formation of Tropical Storm Ophelia off the East Coast, which has put more than seven million people under alert in North Carolina and Virginia before the threat of winds of up to 60 miles per hour, storm surges of three to five feet, and heavy rainfall, which could leave up to seven inches in Washington D.C. or New York City, where the cyclone will hit this weekend.
The center of the storm is 150 miles (240 kilometers) southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. The National Hurricane Center expects it to make landfall Saturday morning. However, it is a very broad front, whose effects will be felt before and in a very wide area.
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin, a Republican, declared a state of emergency; Schools closed early Friday and events planned for the weekend were canceled. Evacuations are already underway on the North Carolina coast.
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Sept. 22, 202302:02
The National Hurricane Center forecasts Ophelia will cross North Carolina and southeastern Virginia on Friday, and arrive Saturday in Delaware, Maryland and New Jersey, already as a depression. The rains could be felt as far south as New England.
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North Carolina issued warnings for wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and storm surge flooding of up to five feet. Up to seven inches of rain could accumulate in eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia. Isolated tornadoes and dangerous offshore conditions are also feared.
Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 Track Forecast Map.National Hurricane Center
There is a storm surge warning from Beaufort Inlet (North Carolina) to Chincoteague (Virginia), and tropical storm warning from Cape Fear (North Carolina) to Fenwick Island, (Delaware).
New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, warned of up to two inches of rain or more in New York City, Long Island and the Mid-Hudson regions, and urged people to "monitor the local forecast, prepare homes and vehicles for the impacts of heavy rain, and exercise special caution when traveling, especially near flooded roads and infrastructure."
In New York, wind gusts of 30 to 40 miles per hour and high surf are expected to arrive Saturday, which can cause coastal flooding, beach erosion and dangerous breaks.
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Sept. 20, 202302:06
Tropical storms have winds between 34 and 73 miles per hour; From there they are considered hurricanes. Ophelia also comes just a week after Hurricane Lee swept across the coast of New England and Canada, with heavy rain and storm surge.
Hurricane Nigel, in the Atlantic Ocean, has been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone with its center about 640 miles (1,030 kilometers) northwest of the Azores and maximum sustained winds of 70 miles per hour (110 kilometers per hour). There were no associated coastal watches or warnings as the storm moved northeast.
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The Atlantic hurricane season began on June 1 and will end on November 30. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, there will be 12 to 17 named storms, of which 5 to 9 could become hurricanes.