Tropical Storm Ophelia: Impact and Widespread Flooding Along the East Coast

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina on Saturday morning, bringing with it powerful winds, heavy rain, and dangerous storm surge. Although the storm had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph at landfall, just shy of hurricane strength, its impact extended far beyond North Carolina, reaching into New Jersey.[0] The governors of Maryland, North Carolina, and Virginia declared a state of emergency in preparation for the storm's arrival.[1]

As Ophelia tracked north-northwest through Eastern North Carolina, it was expected to move into Virginia and Maryland on Saturday night and Sunday before heading toward New York.[0] The storm brought with it the potential for significant rainfall, with two to five inches projected in the region. Coastal areas, particularly the Chesapeake Bay and lower Potomac, were at risk of flooding.[2]

The Coast Guard had to rescue five people from a boat anchored in rough waters near Cape Lookout, North Carolina, due to the weather conditions caused by Ophelia.[3] The storm also caused wind gusts of up to 60 mph in Delaware and at the Jersey Shore, leading to some road and sidewalk ponding.[4]

The National Hurricane Center discontinued all storm surge and tropical storm warnings in its Saturday evening advisory as the storm lost strength.[1] However, a coastal flood warning was in effect in Anne Arundel County, Maryland, and a coastal flood advisory was in effect for Fairfax, Stafford, and parts of Prince William counties in Virginia.[5]

Ophelia was downgraded from a tropical storm to a tropical depression as it approached Richmond, Virginia.[6] Despite the weakening, the storm continued to bring rain, gusty winds, coastal flooding, and life-threatening rip currents along the Mid-Atlantic Coast, extending northward to New Jersey.[7]

Maryland Governor Wes Moore urged residents to remain vigilant and follow instructions from local officials during the state of emergency.[8] He advised avoiding driving or being outdoors during the storm, as strong winds, heavy rainfall, and elevated tides were expected.

The storm caused power outages in both North Carolina and Virginia, with tens of thousands of customers affected.[9] As of Saturday night, around 14,000 customers remained without power.[7]

Tropical Storm Ophelia also brought flooding to eastern North Carolina, leading to flash flooding in some areas. The heaviest rains were concentrated over northeastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia, with another large area of rain extending across Pennsylvania, New Jersey, southern New York, and southern New England. Storm totals of 2 to 4 inches were expected along and north of Ophelia's track.[10]

Overall, Tropical Storm Ophelia had a significant impact on the East Coast, with its effects felt from North Carolina to New Jersey. The storm brought heavy rain, strong winds, and coastal flooding, leading to power outages and flash flooding in some areas.[11] Residents were urged to stay informed and take necessary precautions to ensure their safety during the storm.

0. “NFL Week 3 weather: Tropical Storm Ophelia may impact Bills at Commanders, Colts at Ravens, Patriots at Jets” CBS Sports, 23 Sep. 2023,

1. “Ophelia weakens to tropical depression as it dumps inches of rain along upper East Coast” CNN, 24 Sep. 2023,

2. “Ophelia downgraded to tropical depression, heavy rain still rolls through DC region” WTOP, 24 Sep. 2023,

3. “Coast Guard rescues 5 from sailing vessel during Tropical Storm Ophelia” U.S. Coast Guard, 23 Sep. 2023,

4. “Philadelphia weather: Tropical Storm Ophelia downgraded to tropical depression” CBS News, 24 Sep. 2023,

5. “Maryland Governor Wes Moore Declares State of Emergency for Tropical Storm Ophelia” WBOC TV 16, 23 Sep. 2023,

6. “Updated D.C. area forecast: Rain may be heavy at times overnight as winds ease” The Washington Post, 23 Sep. 2023,

7. “Ophelia weakens to tropical depression over Virginia” NPR, 24 Sep. 2023,

8. “Governor Wes Moore declares a state of emergency in Maryland”, 22 Sep. 2023,

9. “Tracking Ophelia” News 13 Orlando, 18 Sep. 2023,

10. “Heavy rains envelop the U.S. East Coast as Ophelia pushes inland ยป Yale Climate Connections” Yale Climate Connections, 23 Sep. 2023,

11. “Ophelia targets Northeast after coastal flooding reported in mid-Atlantic” Fox Weather , 23 Sep. 2023,

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