Posted: Saturday, September 23, 2023. 2:53 pm CST.
By Horace Palacio: As the 2023 Atlantic Hurricane Season continues its active run, Tropical Storm Ophelia has been declared the 16th named storm, currently lurking 150 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina. According to information sourced from Caribbean Loop News, and updated data from the US National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm is showing signs of intensifying before making landfall.
At 2:00 PM EDT, the NHC confirmed that Ophelia’s center was situated near latitude 32.7 North, longitude 76.0 West. The storm is currently moving north-northwest at approximately 12 mph (19 km/h), a trend expected to persist over the next 24 hours, before making a slight turn toward the north.
On its forecast track, the center of Ophelia is expected to approach North Carolina’s coast tonight. Over the weekend, the storm is slated to move across eastern North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, and the Delmarva Peninsula, raising concerns for heavy rainfall and flooding in these regions.
Data gathered by the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters and satellite wind data show that Ophelia’s maximum sustained winds have increased to nearly 60 mph (95 km/h), with even higher gusts. There is potential for some slight strengthening before the storm makes landfall.
Wind reports from NOAA buoy 41025 at Diamond Shoals, North Carolina, indicated a sustained wind of 47 mph (76 km/h) and a gust of 60 mph (97 km/h). A NOAA C-MAN station at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, also reported a sustained wind of 45 mph (72 km/h) and a gust of 52 mph (83 km/h).
Numerous watches and warnings have been issued in anticipation of Ophelia’s impact. A Storm Surge Warning is currently in effect for:
Additionally, a Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for:
A Storm Surge Watch is also in effect for Surf City, North Carolina to Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina and the remainder of Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds.
Residents in these areas are strongly urged to prepare for potential storm surge, high winds, and heavy rainfall. Emergency services are on standby, and people are advised to heed local evacuation orders if issued.
With Ophelia closing in, the next 48 hours are crucial for affected regions to take necessary precautions and brace for impact.
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