A disturbance in the Atlantic Ocean is set to become a tropical storm, bringing strong winds, coastal flooding, and rip currents to the Mid-Atlantic coast from North Carolina to New Jersey. Get the latest updates on the storm and preparations from authorities.
An Atlantic Ocean disturbance is on the verge of evolving into a tropical storm as it approaches the North Carolina coast by Friday night. This impending tropical storm poses a significant threat of high winds, coastal flooding, and life-threatening rip currents along the mid-Atlantic coastline, extending northward to New Jersey over the weekend.
Tropical Storm Warning:
The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has issued a tropical storm warning encompassing a vast stretch from Cape Fear, N.C., to Fenwick Island, Del., as of Thursday. This warning includes key areas like Albemarle and Pamlico sounds in North Carolina, the Tidal Potomac River south of Cobb Island, Md., and Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach, Md. Additionally, a storm surge watch is in effect from just north of Wilmington, N.C., to the Potomac River in Virginia, just south of the Delaware line.
Rainfall and Flood Concerns:
Anticipate substantial rainfall in the range of 3 to 5 inches across North Carolina and Virginia, persisting into Saturday, with localized areas receiving as much as 7 inches. The mid-Atlantic region down to southern New England is projected to receive 2 to 4 inches of rainfall from late Friday through Sunday, potentially leading to isolated urban and small stream flooding.
Specific areas, spanning from Surf City, N.C., to Chincoteague, Va., could witness flooding reaching 2 to 4 feet if the storm surge coincides with high tide. Moreover, portions of the Outer Banks are likely to experience floodwaters rising between 3 and 5 feet. The lower Chesapeake Bay may see surges resulting in 2 to 4 feet of flooding, while areas farther up the bay could witness 1 to 3 feet of flooding.
Path and Potential Impact:
The NHC predicts that “Potential Tropical Cyclone 16,” as it’s termed, will continue its northward movement, with the cyclone’s center expected to approach the North Carolina coast within the warning area on Friday night and Saturday. The system is currently moving north at 7 mph but is projected to take a northwest-north trajectory later on Friday. There is also a slight risk of tornadoes in the mid-Atlantic states on Friday and Saturday, as stated by the NHC.
While the system may not escalate into a hurricane, it is expected to generate hazardous tropical-storm conditions along parts of the southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts.
Storm Naming and Preparedness:
Should the system attain tropical storm status, it will be designated as Ophelia, marking the 16th named storm of the 2023 Atlantic hurricane season.
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper and the state’s department of public safety have urged residents in the eastern and central regions of the state to be well-prepared for tropical weather in the coming days. They have cautioned about potential hazards such as downed trees, power outages, and flooding, emphasizing the importance of staying informed through the latest weather forecasts.
“As tropical weather threatens our state again, we are reminded of the importance of being prepared by having a family emergency plan and kit,” Governor Cooper emphasized in a statement on Thursday.
North Carolina Emergency Management director Will Ray assured that the department is ready to provide necessary resources to address the situation.
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