Tropical storm Ophelia hits the east coast of the United States
Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on the North Carolina coast early Saturday morning, battering coastal areas with damaging winds and dangerous surges, the US National Hurricane Center said.
The center of Ophelia made landfall at about 6:15 am near the town of Emerald Isle with maximum sustained winds of 110 km/h, the hurricane center said. Life-threatening flooding was predicted for some parts of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, but the storm is expected to weaken after landfall. According to the hurricane center, Ophelia is likely to turn north on Saturday and then move northeast on Sunday.
The storm promised a weekend of windy weather and heavy rain with up to 18 centimeters of rainfall in parts of North Carolina and Virginia, and 5 to 10 centimeters in the rest of the Mid-Atlantic region on Sunday. The governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland declared a state of emergency on Friday. Some schools closed early, several weekend events were canceled, and in Washington DC, the Nationals baseball team postponed Saturday's game until Sunday.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted a “near normal” hurricane season with 12-17 storms with wind speeds of at least 63 km/h. Of these, five to nine could become hurricanes with wind speeds of 119 km/h or higher, including one to four major hurricanes with wind speeds of 179 km/h or higher. The Atlantic hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30.