Tropical Storm Ophelia formed as it headed toward the coast of North Carolina on Friday afternoon, with stormy weather spreading over portions of the state. Meanwhile, a second system is likely to form in the Atlantic, forecasters said.
Ophelia is expected to make landfall later in the day.
As of 5 p.m. Eastern time Friday, the storm was located about 120 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, and 165 miles south-southwest of Cape Hatteras. It is moving north-northwest at 12 mph with maximum sustained winds increasing to 70 mph and higher gusts. Tropical-storm-force winds extend out 275 miles.
Ophelia is expected to approach the coast of North Carolina on Friday night, then move across the state as well as Virginia on Saturday and Sunday. Parts of North Carolina are now under a hurricane watch.
“Some additional strengthening cannot be ruled out as Ophelia traverses the warm waters of the Gulf Stream on its approach to eastern North Carolina,” forecasters wrote in the 5 p.m. advisory.
The threat of tornadoes exists along portions of the Mid-Atlantic coast, and areas of North Carolina and southeast Virginia could see 3 to 5 inches of rain with some areas receiving 7 inches.
Watches and warnings have been issued from South Carolina up through the Washington, D.C., area.
Despite moving away from Florida’s east coast to the north, the storm has been causing heavy rainfall and some flooding this week in South Florida. Swells from Ophelia will affect a large part of the U.S. East Coast over the weekend, forecasters said.
A hurricane watch is in effect for the coast of North Carolina from north of Surf City to Ocracoke Inlet.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Cape Fear, North Carolina to Fenwick Island, Delaware as well as Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island and Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach.
©2023 South Florida Sun Sentinel. Visit at sun-sentinel.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.