This story originally appeared on 6abc.
Tropical Storm Ophelia has made landfall in Emerald Isle, North Carolina with winds of 70 mph as a flash flood warning has been issued surrounding the landfall location.
Tropical storm warnings have also been issued for 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.
Ophelia is forecast to bring strong winds, heavy rain, flash flooding and coastal flooding from Carolinas all the way to southern New England.
A widespread 1-3″+ for the I-95 metro and areas northwest. Much of Delaware and South Jersey will pick up 2-4″ with some locally higher amounts.
Gusts of 35-45 mph are possible along the I-95 corridor. The strongest winds will be at the shore with 50-60 mph gusts possible. This can lead to power outages and trees down. A high wind warning goes into effect at the Jersey shore and Delaware beaches at midnight and continues through 8 p.m. Saturday.
Breaking waves of up to 9 feet are possible. A high surf advisory goes into effect at 6 a.m. Saturday and lasts through 8 p.m.
There is the potential for widespread coastal flooding, especially around high tide during the afternoon. The threat is moderate from LBI to Cape May. The flooding threat farther south at the Delaware Bay at Lewes is major. Water inundation of 1-3 feet is possible. Drivers should be mindful of where they park their cars throughout the weekend and move them to higher ground.
It will be wet, windy and raw. We’ll have multiple rounds of heavy rain throughout the day. Flash flooding is not expected, but there will be ponding on roads and likely some delays involving travel, high 63.
It’s not as windy as Saturday, but it’s still breezy with plenty of clouds and occasional showers and rain, high 69.
Preparations ahead of storm
Atlantic City Fire Chief Scott Evans, who is also the city’s emergency management coordinator, said they’re monitoring the storm closely.
“We’re expecting one tide cycle,” said Evans. “So, what we’ve been doing is we’ve been getting all our high-water vehicles ready to go. Our public safety agencies have all been alert, looking at our staffing issues and making sure our equipment is up to par.”
Evans said they’re also concerned about the potentially powerful wind.
“We always ask people please secure – whether it’s lawn furniture, deck furniture – things that are loose or hanging in your homes,” said Evans. “We could have high winds where electric lines go down and loss of power.”
The New Jersey Casino Reinvestment Development Authority (CRDA) has authorized free parking this weekend, effective at 4:00 p.m. Friday, in the Wave Parking Garage located at Mississippi and Fairmount Avenues. This is open to residents and visitors on the second floor of the garage.
North Wildwood’s Irish festival impacted
All decked out in green, people flocked to North Wildwood’s Irish Fall Festival before the storm soaks the island.
Portions of the festival will be moved to indoor venues on Saturday as Ophelia is expected to hit. Officials are anticipating some level of flooding on Saturday afternoon.
“I anticipate the vendors will probably not be on the streets tomorrow unless something dramatic changes with the forecast,” said North Wildwood Mayor Patrick Rosenello. “They are moving the pipe exhibition inside North Wildwood Community Center tomorrow if everything goes okay. And hopefully, we’ll be back out here on Sunday.”
Crews near Philadelphia taking precautions
Two dozen crews with the Philadelphia Water Department spent Friday afternoon clearing drains ahead of the storm.
“They are basically just going in there cleaning out debris, trash, this time of year, leaves, just making sure it’s able to take as much water as it can,” said Brian Rademaekers with the Philadelphia Water Department.
The PWD is asking residents to call 311 or 215-685-6300 if they see a flooded storm drain.
PennDOT is beefing up staffing, equipment and signage ahead of the storm. They’re keeping a close eye on I-76 and I-95, specifically looking at the low-lying areas of both highways.
“Some road closures will probably happen and some systems may just be overrun with water,” said Brad Rudolph, a spokesperson with PennDOT. “It’s a good chance that the rivers are going to crest, they are going to overflow their banks, and we’re going to have to wait out some flooding before we can assess the damage and reopen highways.”
With the storm also expected to bring strong winds, utility crews are gearing up.
PECO is bringing in 30 additional crews from local contractors to help them respond to any outages.
They say right now, it’s a waiting game as they watch the system move up the East Coast.
“As soon as the weather conditions allow us, we will be working to restore service as quickly as possible for anyone who may be affected,” said Brian Ahrens, a senior communications specialist with PECO.