Tropical Storm Ophelia maintained a
relatively safe distance from the
Tuesday afternoon, but forecasters cautioned that the storm could intensify and
move inland in the next few days.
According to the National Weather Service, a hurricane
warning – meaning hurricane conditions are expected within the next 24 hours – remains in effect from the South Santee River in South Carolina to Lookout,
A hurricane watch – meaning hurricane conditions are possible within
the next 36 hours – and a tropical storm warning – meaning tropical storm
conditions are expected within the next 24 hours – remain in effect north of
Cape Lookout to the Oregon inlet, including the Pamlico Sound, and from south
of the South Santee River to Edisto Beach, SC.
At 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 13, Ophelia was located about 120 miles
and about 130 miles south of
. Tropical storm-force winds
extended outward from the center up to 160 miles from the center.
Ophelia was moving slowly toward the north-northwest at 3 mph, and that
general motion was forecast to continue throughout Tuesday. A gradual turn
toward the north is expected Tuesday evening or on Wednesday; however, some
erratic motion is still possible.
Maximum sustained winds are near 70 mph with higher gusts. Some slow
strengthening is forecast during the next 24 hours, and Ophelia could become a
Storm surge flooding of 4 to 6 feet above normal tide levels, along
with large and dangerous battering waves, are possible. A storm surge of 6 to 8
feet is possible at the heads of bays and rivers.
Ophelia is expected to produce total rainfall accumulations of 6 to 10
inches over far northeastern
, with possible
isolated maximum rainfall amounts of 15 inches over eastern
North Carolina Gov. Mike Easley declared a
state of emergency Sunday, Sept. 11. The
Associated Press reported the governor had sent 200 National Guard
soldiers to staging centers and ordered a mandatory evacuation of non-residents
from tourist areas along the flood-prone coastline.