A tropical storm situated off the mid-Atlantic coast has already started to pour rain over parts of North Carolina, and it is expected to bring more precipitation, accompanied by strong winds and storm surges, to regions of Virginia and Delaware, according to the National Weather Service.
Virginia’s Governor, Glenn Youngkin, preemptively declared a state of emergency in anticipation of the approaching storm, named Ophelia, which was still positioned at sea as of Friday evening. Emergency response teams were being mobilized ahead of the storm’s expected arrival, which is anticipated to result in high surf, coastal flooding, and tropical storm force winds in areas along the Chesapeake Bay and tidal regions of the Potomac River.
Tropical storm warnings are currently in effect for much of the affected area, alongside storm surge warnings. Late on Friday, the National Weather Service also issued a hurricane watch for parts of eastern North Carolina after Air Force Reserve hurricane hunters detected a strengthening of Ophelia.
As of Friday afternoon, Ophelia was packing winds of 70 miles per hour (113 kph), as indicated by Air Force data. It was projected to reach coastal areas on Friday night, ushering in heavy rain and strong winds that would persist through Saturday.
In addition to the life-threatening storm surges along the coastline, Ophelia has the potential to trigger flooding from North Carolina to New Jersey, extending until Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. As the storm approached on Friday evening, Maryland’s Governor, Wes Moore, also declared a state of emergency.