Hurricane Ophelia Packs 85 mph Winds, Pounds the Coast 40 Miles East of Wilmington, N.C.

September 14, 2005

Hurricane Ophelia, a Category One hurricane packing 85 mph sustained winds, is raking the North Carolina coast with strong winds and blowing rain. The center of Ophelia is 40 miles east of Wilmington, N.C. and about 50 miles southwest of Cape Lookout, N.C.

The National Hurricane Center predicts slight strengthening during the next 12 hours before landfall occurs. Ophelia’s northern eyewall will continue to move across southeastern North Carolina tonight, and over the North Carolina outer banks tonight and Thursday.

Ophelia is moving toward the northeast near 7 mph. This general motion is expected to continue for the next 24 hours. On this track, the center of Ophelia is forecast to make landfall on Thursday along the southeastern coast of North Carolina near Cape Lookout.

Hurricane force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the center and tropical storm force winds extend outward up to 140 miles.

All warnings have been discontinued from south of Little River Inlet, N.C. A hurricane warning is now in effect for all of the North Carolina coast from Little River inlet northward to the North Carolina/Virginia border including Pamlico and Albemarle sounds.

A hurricane watch and a tropical storm warning remain in effect north of the north carolina/virginia border to Cape Charles Light, Va. including the Chesapeake Bay south of New Point Comfort.

Maximum coastal storm surge flooding of 5 to 7 feet above normal tide levels, along with large and dangerous battering waves can be expected in areas of onshore flow. A storm surge of 9 to 11 feet is possible at the heads of bays and rivers.

Ophelia is expected to produce additional rainfall accumulations of 4 to 8 inches over portions of eastern North Carolina during the next 24 hours, with maximum storm total amounts of 15 inches possible. Isolated tornadoes are possible over northeastern North Carolina tonight.

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