Tropical Storm Ophelia, which formed in the Atlantic Ocean on Friday, has brought heavy rain and strong winds to parts of Eastern North Carolina, causing fallen trees and downed power lines that have resulted in temporary road closures.
Ophelia’s impact on ENC
According to the National Hurricane Center, Ophelia was located about 85 miles east of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, as of 8 a.m. EDT on Saturday, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. The storm was moving northeast at 17 mph and was expected to pass near or over the Outer Banks later in the day.
Ophelia’s outer rainbands have been affecting the coastal and inland areas of ENC, dumping several inches of rain and producing gusty winds. Some of the rainfall totals reported by the National Weather Service include 4.83 inches in New Bern, 3.81 inches in Morehead City, 3.66 inches in Greenville, and 3.18 inches in Jacksonville.
The heavy rain and wind have caused some flooding and power outages in the region, as well as damage to trees and power lines. According to Duke Energy, more than 10,000 customers were without power in ENC as of Saturday morning.
List of road closures
WITN, a local news station, has compiled a list of known road closures in ENC due to Ophelia’s effects. The list will be updated throughout the storm. As of Saturday morning, the following roads were closed:
- Adams Creek Rd in both directions in Craven County, near Havelock, near Bacon – high water
- Palace Point Commons (S. Front Street loop behind Tryon Palace) in New Bern – high water
- E. Front Street (from Change Street to Broad Street) in New Bern – high water
- Union Point Park, 210 E. Front Street in New Bern – high water
- E. Front Street & S. Front Street in New Bern – high water
- Traffic circle along E. Front Street & Broad Street in New Bern – high water
Drivers are advised to avoid these areas and use alternate routes if possible. They are also reminded to never drive through flooded roads, as it can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening.
Ophelia is expected to weaken as it moves away from the coast and into the cooler waters of the Atlantic. The storm is forecast to become a post-tropical cyclone by Sunday and dissipate by Monday.
However, Ophelia will still pose a threat to marine interests, as it will generate large swells and dangerous surf conditions along the coast of North Carolina and the Mid-Atlantic states. A tropical storm warning remains in effect for the Outer Banks from Ocracoke Inlet to Duck, and a tropical storm watch is in effect for the coast of Virginia from Chincoteague to Smith Point.
Residents and visitors of these areas are urged to monitor the latest updates from the National Hurricane Center and local authorities, and to follow any instructions or advisories issued for their safety.