States of emergency have been declared in Maryland and Virginia in preparation for Tropical Storm Ophelia, which is forecasted to bring heavy rains and dangerous storm surges to the Mid-Atlantic.
The storm made landfall in North Carolina early Saturday morning and is forecast to move north through Virginia, the District of Columbia and Maryland through Sunday, weakening to a tropical depression, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).
Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin warned residents of potential impacts from the storm in his emergency declaration Friday.
“As this storm has organized and strengthened, it’s becoming clear based on the latest forecasts that impacts to the commonwealth are likely,” Youngkin said in a statement. “Since this storm has the potential to have a range of impacts across numerous localities in the commonwealth, I encourage all Virginians and visitors to keep up with the latest forecast for their area from a trusted source, make a plan, and have their emergency kits ready.”
Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) made a similar declaration Friday.
Ophelia had wind speeds of about 70 miles per hour just before landfall early Saturday morning, with those speeds anticipated to slow as the storm moves north, according to the NHC forecast.
The NHC projects that dangerous storm surges of up to five feet will impact waters on the coast of North Carolina, Virginia, the District and the outer Chesapeake Bay. The inner Bay is forecast for 1 to 3 feet of storm surge.
Some parts of North Carolina and Virginia will receive as much as 8 inches of rain from the storm, while most of the region will receive 2 to 4 inches, causing flooding concerns.