RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Potential Tropical Cyclone 16 has now officially become Tropical Storm Ophelia. The announcement was made shortly before 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22.
The water in the Atlantic Ocean is in the middle 80s and that should be enough fuel to allow this to strengthen even more. In fact, we do expect that this could become a sub-tropical storm with winds of 60 mph just before landfall which will be tomorrow morning near Morehead City, North Carolina.
From that point, it will move up along the eastern side of North Carolina and then cross through eastern and central areas of Virginia during the day on Saturday. On Sunday, it will likely move out into the Chesapeake Bay and into the Delmarva.
What to expect as our forecast unfolds
We will start today with a little bit of sunshine, but clouds will quickly move into Central Virginia and it looks like we will start to see some showers developing from Emporia to the Tidewater between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m.
Those showers will move into the metro Richmond area by the time of evening commuting and, as we head into the latter part of this evening, the showers will turn more into a steady rain. It will be a breezy and cool day with highs only around 70.
Steady rain will be with us tonight and winds will blow in from the northeast at 20 to 30 mph with some higher gusts. Keep in mind that winds along the coast will be stronger where we could have 30 to 40 mph wind gusts and even some higher gusts above that.
We are also concerned about storm surges along the coast for our Northern Neck, middle peninsula and lower peninsula communities where surges could range from 3 to 6 feet. It is also a good bet that that storm surge will go all the way up into the James River, the York River and the Rappahannock River.
Saturday will be a rainy and windy day and there’s the potential for some thunderstorms during the day. We could even have a spin-up tornado or two, which is very common with landfall tropical systems. It will be a cool day with highs in the upper 60s.
The winds on Saturday will likely be 20 to 30 mph along Interstate 95 with Winds of 30 to 40 mph along the coast.
This system will finally depart on Sunday, and we should see mostly cloudy skies with some occasional breaks of sun. It will be cool with highs in the lower 70s.