Sept 23 (Reuters) – Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on the U.S. Atlantic coast on Saturday, drenching the region with torrential rain and relentless winds that caused flooding and widespread power outages.
According to the National Weather Service, nearly 8 million people across the mid-Atlantic, from New York to South Carolina, were under a tropical storm, storm surge and flood warning as of noon Saturday.
After making landfall near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, around 6:15 am local time (1015 GMT), Ophelia was moving inland in a northerly direction while dumping heavy downpours and carrying strong winds.
In some spots, up to 10 inches (25 cm) of rain and winds of more than 50 miles (80 km) per hour could be seen, which combined were producing storm surge flooding in parts of North Carolina, the service said. .
One of the hardest-hit communities was Washington, North Carolina, where video footage on social media showed flood waters reaching homes and partially submerging vehicles in parts of the city that sits on the banks of the Pamlico River. .
“Some areas are even isolated, so water rescue teams are moving throughout the city in case they get the call later,” Bryce Shelton said on the social network X, describing conditions in the city of 10,000 people.
In Virginia, the state’s emergency management department said in a post on X that its teams were across the commonwealth, ready to carry out any necessary rescue and debris removal.
As of midday, more than 65,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina, Virginia, Pennsylvania and New Jersey were without power, according to Poweroutage.com. (Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Chicago, Editing in Spanish by Ricardo Figueroa)