Outer Banks braces for storm surge as tropical storm Ophelia approaches

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The Outer Banks of North Carolina are under a storm surge warning as potential tropical cyclone 16 is expected to become tropical storm Ophelia later today and make landfall on Saturday. The storm could bring life-threatening inundation, strong winds, and heavy rain to the coastal region.

Storm surge warning issued for parts of the Outer Banks

A storm surge warning means there is a danger of life-threatening inundation, from rising water moving inland from the coastline, during the next 36 hours in the indicated locations. The warning covers Ocracoke Inlet to Duck, North Carolina, the Tidal Potomac south of Colonial Beach, and portions of the western Albemarle Sound.

According to the National Weather Service, storm surge flooding of 2 to 4 feet above ground level is possible along the oceanfront, while the easterly wind will push sound waters to the west. The water levels could rise quickly as the wind shifts to the south and southwest when the storm moves north. Residents and visitors in low-lying areas should take all necessary actions to protect life and property from rising water and follow evacuation and other instructions from local officials.

storm surge as tropical storm Ophelia approaches

Tropical storm warning in effect for the Outer Banks and nearby areas

A tropical storm warning means that tropical storm conditions are expected somewhere within the warning area. The warning covers Cape Fear, North Carolina to Fenwick Island, Delaware, Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds, Tidal Potomac south of Cobb Island, and Chesapeake Bay south of North Beach.

The potential tropical cyclone is currently located 255 miles east of Charleston, South Carolina and 200 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, with maximum sustained winds of 50 mph. It is moving north at 12 mph and is expected to strengthen into tropical storm Ophelia later today. The storm is forecast to make landfall along the North Carolina coast on Saturday, bringing strong winds, heavy rain, and isolated tornadoes to the area.

Tropical-storm-force winds are expected to begin on Friday and persist until late Saturday night. The easterly wind flow is expected to peak sometime in the late afternoon on Saturday, and into the evening the storm is expected to move north and the wind will shift to the south and southwest. The wind speed could reach 45 to 55 mph with gusts of up to 70 mph.

Dangerous surf and rip currents along the beaches

The storm will also cause hazardous ocean conditions along the beaches of the Outer Banks and nearby areas. A high surf advisory is in effect, warning of large waves of 7 to 10 feet in the surf zone. These waves will result in dangerous surf and rip currents, which could be life-threatening for swimmers and surfers. Beach erosion and overwash are also possible, especially during high tide. People are advised to stay out of the water and away from the shore until the storm passes.

The storm is expected to move away from the region by Sunday, leaving behind cooler and drier weather. However, the impacts of the storm surge, wind, and rain could linger for some time, especially in areas that are prone to flooding. The National Hurricane Center and the National Weather Service will continue to monitor the storm and provide updates and warnings as needed.

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