Ophelia lashes Mid-Atlantic with high winds, major coastal flooding


Widespread power outages and significant coastal flooding affected communities from North Carolina to New Jersey on Saturday

By Brendan O'Brien

(Reuters) - Tropical Storm Ophelia came ashore on Saturday along the Atlantic Coast where it doused the region with torrential downpours and unrelenting winds that caused flooding and widespread power outages.

Nearly 8 million people across the Mid-Atlantic - from New York to South Carolina - were under tropical storm, storm surge and flooding warnings as of midday on Saturday, the National Weather Service said.

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After making landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina around 6:15 a.m. EDT (10:15 UTC), Ophelia was moving inland on a northerly path as it dumped heavy downpours and whipped strong winds in its wake.

Some spots could see up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain and winds of more than 50 miles (80 km) per hour that combined were producing storm surge flooding in parts of North Carolina, the service said.

One of the hardest hit communities was Washington, North Carolina, where video footage on social media showed flood waters reaching homes and partly submerging vehicles in parts of the town that sis on the banks of the Pamlico River.

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"Some areas are even cut-off, seeing water rescue crews moving throughout town just incase the call comes later," storm chaser Bryce Shelton said on X, describing the conditions in the town of 10,000 people.

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In Virginia, the state's department of emergency management said in a X post that its crews were staged across the commonwealth, ready to conduct any needed swift water rescues and debris removal.

By midday, more than 65,000 homes and businesses in the North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey and were without power, according to Poweroutage.com.

(Reporting by Brendan O'Brien in Chicago, Editing by Franklin Paul)

Header image courtesy of NOAA.

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