Tropical Storm Ophelia weakens to a depression

WILMINGTON, NC - SEPTEMBER 23: Surfers ride the waves as the ocean is whipped up by Tropical Storm Ophelia at Wrightsville Beach on September 23, 2023 in Wilmington, North Carolina. The storm is forecasted to bring strong gusts, heavy rain, and potentially hazardous storm surges as it moves inland and up the East Coast. (Photo by Eros Hoagland/Getty Images)

Tropical Storm Ophelia weakened to a tropical depression Saturday as the center of what’s left of it churns across southeastern Virginia right now and all Tropical storm warnings and storm surge warnings have been canceled.

Winds will continue to diminish with any remaining heavy rain becoming more scattered in nature. Minor coastal flood impacts will persist Saturday night along the coast, from Virginia to southern New Jersey, where Coastal Flood Alerts remain in effect.

Persistent heavy rain and a flash flood threat do remain in place across portions of southeastern Virginia where the center of what’s left of Ophelia continues to move through. Flash Flood Warnings are in effect for Richmond and surrounding areas right now.

Ophelia continues to bring widespread heavy rain and gusty winds to a large swath of the East Coast on Saturday afternoon. Its weakening trend persists as it slowly moves north up the coast with maximum sustained winds now down to 35 mph.

Ophelia is expected to continue to weaken overnight and will become a post-tropical system on Sunday as it falls apart over the Northeast. Its remnants will be slow to clear out tomorrow meaning lingering clouds and rainy weather for much of the region.

The storm earlier made landfall in Emerald Isle, North Carolina, with winds of 70 mph triggering a flash flood warning for the surrounding area.

Tropical storm warnings remain in effect in four states from North Carolina to Maryland. Flood watches have been issued for portions of eastern North Carolina and southeastern Virginia, including Richmond. Coastal flood warnings are in effect along the coast too, stretching into Delaware and southern New Jersey, including Atlantic City

Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin declared a state of emergency on Friday ahead of the storm to mobilize resources, with impacts to the commonwealth “likely,” he said.

The tropical storm warning covers cities including Nags Head, North Carolina; Norfolk, Virginia; and Ocean City, Maryland. Storm surge warnings were issued for parts of the North Carolina and southeastern Virginia coasts.

The highest storm surge will be in North Carolina where water could rise up to 5 feet. Storm surge of 1 to 3 feet is possible all the way to the Jersey Shore.

Ophelia is forecast to bring areas of heavy rain and possible flash flooding from North Carolina into the Northeast over the next 24 hours.

Through Sunday, additional rainfall amounts of 1-2 inches are forecast along a large swath of the East Coast with locally up to 4 inches possible. This heavy rain could cause flash flooding for urban areas along the Interstate 95 corridor, from Washington D.C., Philadelphia, New York City and into southern New England.

Source: ABC News