Timeline: Ophelia causes severe storms in NC; flash flood warnings issued for Wake & Johnston counties
Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall in North Carolina Saturday morning. The storm will bring heavy rain, damaging winds and a storm surge along the coast.
Tropical storm warnings are in effect for the coast and counties along Interstate 95, and flood watches are in effect for most of our viewing area. The National Weather Service issued a hurricane watch for parts of the coast, including Morehead City and New Bern.
Saturday is a WRAL Weather Alert Day as Ophelia continues to impact North Carolina.
We're already seeing flooding and power outages across the state. New Bern is experiencing some serious flooding from Friday's storms.
Tropical Storm Ophelia: What to know
- Flash flood warnings are in effect for Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties until 5 p.m. Saturday.
- Ophelia made landfall in NC Saturday morning.
- Gov. Roy Cooper issued a state of emergency.
- Tropical storm warnings are in effect for counties east of the Triangle.
- Flood watches are in effect for Durham and Cumberland counties until 9 p.m. Saturday.
- A Flash Flood Warning has been issued for Wake County and Johnston County until 5 p.m.
- A hurricane watch was issued for parts of the coast.
- The biggest impacts will be felt Friday night through Saturday afternoon.
- The Triangle could see one to three inches of rain. Eastern counties could see up to five inches.
- Wind gusts could be as strong as 30 to 45 mph.
- A five-foot storm surge is possible at the NC coast.
Timeline of Tropical Storm Ophelia
11:50 a.m.: Flash flood warnings have been issued for Wake, Johnston and Franklin counties until 5 p.m.
11:30 a.m.: Front Street and East North Avenue is back open.
10:45 a.m.: A downed tree is blocking traffic in Wake Forest in the area of Front Street and East North Avenue.
10:00 a.m.: The whirligigs are twirling wildly in Ophelia's wind gusts in Wilson.
9:30 a.m.: Ophelia's center of circulation is getting close to Greenville. Heavier rain bands are starting to impact Raleigh. Areas east of Raleigh are deep in Ophelia's rain bands, impacted by rain and wind. Some of these heavier bands have wind gusts of up to 40 miles per hour.
Current wind gusts are reaching up to 40 miles per hour in Rocky Mount. Raleigh has gotten gusts up to 32 miles per hour. Areas west of Wake County are seeing less rain and wind; however, Durham County still had around 4,000 power outages.
Wave heights are reaching up to 17 feet in the northern Outer Banks.
Our forecast rainfall graphic shows Wake County at risk of getting 1 to 3 inches of rain. Durham could see 1 to 2 inches. Eastern parts of the state, especially along the I-95 corridor, could see up to 4 inches of rain.
9:15 a.m.: A tree has fallen in a Cary neighborhood near Tryon Road. Be cautious if outdoors - the wind gusts and saturated ground could make conditions dangerous.
9:00 a.m.: More events are being delayed or canceled due to impacts from Ophelia around the Triangle. WRAL News has compiled a list of weekend events that have been delayed or canceled.
8:30 a.m.: Watch out for those winds and slick roads. Overnight a car became tangled in power lines, dangling off the ground alongside a Goldsboro road.
8:15 a.m.: Durham County has 7,000 power outages. Wake County has around 2,000 power outages. North Carolina has over 25,000 power outages statewide.
8:00 a.m.: A power line, possibly struck by lightning, is on fire in Atlantic Beach.
7:30 a.m.: A Tornado Warning has been issued for part of the NC coast that is not in WRAL News' viewing area.
7:00 a.m.: As Ophelia moves on land, its bands are beginning to impact some areas east of the Triangle. Rocky Mount, Goldsboro and Wilson are seeing rain and wind.
"Things are still pretty quiet in the Triangle," said WRAL Meteorologist Aimee Wilmoth. "But things are going to pick up in intensity as the center of circulation starts moving through our eastern communities."
Radar shows Ophelia's outermost bands beginning to move into Wake County.
"There's going to be some gusty winds here," said Wilmoth. "With gusts maybe up to 40 miles per hour."
Gusts are reaching up to 60 miles per hour closer to the center of Ophelia.
6:45 a.m.: It's a stormy sunrise at Carolina Beach as Tropical Storm Ophelia begins moving over land. Tap to see live conditions as of 6:45 a.m.
6:15 a.m.: Tropical Storm Ophelia has made landfall near Emerald Isle with winds up to 70mph.
4:30 a.m.: Nearly 17,000 Duke Energy customers are without power in North Carolina.
4:26 a.m.: The storm knocks down trees on Creedmoor Road.
4:02 a.m.: A tree fell on a Chapel Hill home, crashing through the rooftop. A photo shows the branch poking through their bedroom ceiling. No one was hurt.
9:48 p.m.: New model shows the storm moving to the West.
9:11 p.m.: Power outages have begun in several counties including Goldsboro, New Bern and Fayetteville.
5:02 p.m.: The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch for the Eastern North Carolina coast.
Some surfers were still in the ocean as rain fell -- which is not recommended due to dangerous rip currents.
Wrightsville Beach Ocean Rescue told WRAL News they haven’t increased their staffing and said decisions will be made depending on the impact and size of the storm.
“Without question, stay out of the ocean," said Ocean Rescue Cpt. Sam Proffit. "[These are] very dangerous, pretty decent swells."
Conditions at the coast and central N.C. will worsen throughout the evening.
3:30 p.m.: Power outages will be likely Friday night and Saturday. Spokesperson Jeff Brooks said Duke Energy is ready to send extra crews to the coast if needed.
"Tomorrow is going to be a busy day," Brooks said on Friday. "Tonight could be busy, and our crews will be on standby to restore outages as they occur."
Brooks said there is a chance for outages in the Triangle even though conditions will be worse in eastern North Carolina.
"When we have a lot of outages during storms we can't always prioritize you," he said. "[We] can't always guarantee it will be back on in an hour."
3 p.m.: Gov. Roy Cooper declared North Carolina under a State of Emergency due to Tropical Storm Ophelia.
2:50 p.m.: Maximum wind gusts recorded in NC include 50 mph at Rodanthe and 52 mph at Cape Lookout. Some coastal towns have already seen two inches of rain.
Tropical Storm Ophelia and NC weather: Timing, impact
A tropical storm warning is in effect for counties directly east of the Triangle, including Edgecombe, Halifax, Nash, Sampson, Wilson and Wayne counties.
A flood watch is in effect for Edgecombe, Franklin, Halifax, Johnston, Nash, Sampson, Vance, Warren, Wayne and Wilson counties until 9 p.m. on Saturday.
A potential tropical cyclone strengthened into Tropical Storm Ophelia on Friday with peak winds near 60 mph as it approaches our coast. Ophelia could make landfall Saturday morning near Morehead City.
Rain on Friday afternoon will become more widespread by late afternoon and evening.
"The bulk of the rain arrives after 2 p.m. Friday," said WRAL meteorologist Kat Campbell. "The heaviest rain and strongest winds will come overnight into early Saturday (8 p.m. to 11 a.m.)."
The Triangle could see wind gusts up to 35 to 40 mph, and eastern counties could see gusts up to 40 to 45 mph.
Counties east of the Triangle are under a Level 1 out of 5 risk for severe storms, and a Level 2 threat is in place at the coast. Flooding and power outages will be possible Friday and Saturday for those eastern counties.
"It will be worse the closer you get to the coast," WRAL meteorologist Anthony Baglione said. "It still looks like our main concerns [in the Triangle] will just be windy and rainy conditions, although an isolated strong storm can't be ruled out. Winds will gust 30 to 40 mph [locally] with 50 to 75 mph gusts along the coast."
Up to 4 inches of rain will be possible Friday and Saturday in our eastern counties and along the coast. In the Triangle, we're expected to get 1 to 2 inches of rain.
The National Hurricane Center said tropical storm conditions are expected along the coast, where tropical storm warnings and storm surge watches are in effect.
"We could see around 2 to 5 feet of storm surge for areas north of Surf City with up to 3 feet south of Surf City," Baglione said.
"There is a danger of life-threatening storm surge inundation over portions of eastern North Carolina," the NHC said Friday morning.
If you're planning on heading to the beach this weekend, apart from the rainy weather, there's a high rip current risk.
Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 will bring dangerous rip currents to the NC coast, and a heavy surf advisory is in effect. It's important to stay safe if you're heading to the beach this weekend. Avoid going in the water if you see yellow or red flags.
The state is urging North Carolinians to be prepared and stay safe. Make sure you have an emergency kit with the following necessities:
- Make sure you have food that's ready to eat and doesn't need to be refrigerated, in case there's an outage.
- It might be a good idea to pick up a cooler and some ice. That way you can salvage some groceries if there's an outage.
- Phone charger
- A portable charger is best since traditional chargers won't work during an outage.
- Prescription medications
- First aid kit
After Ophelia: Looking ahead
Heavy rain will continue overnight into Saturday morning. Showers will become more scattered by Saturday afternoon after the WRAL Weather Alert Day ends at 3 p.m.
"Rain and storm chances continue into just after lunchtime tomorrow with all of this likely gone by the 6 p.m. Saturday night," Baglione said. "Sunday looks beautiful with sunshine and warmer highs in the 70s."
Sunday will be the best day to get outside this weekend. The rain should clear out by Sunday morning, and it's supposed to warm up a bit.