RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The tropical rainstorm was named Tropical Storm Ophelia as of 2pm.
Rain continues to pinwheel in from the east here in the triangle this evening with the storm well underway at the coast. The center of Ophelia will make landfall early Saturday morning (6am) near or just west of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. This is a little farther west than expected from earlier in the week, so the risk of thunderstorms now extends inland to, but not west of the Triangle.
The peak of the storm in the Triangle will be tonight into tomorrow morning when east to northeast winds can gust to 30-50 mph resulting in downed tree limbs and scattered power outages. Rainfall in the Triangle will range from 1-2 inches in Raleigh on west, and 2-4 inches east of Raleigh. This will result in ponding on roads and localized flooding. A shift of the wind to the northwest tomorrow afternoon will signal the worst of the storm is over, but there can still a few periods of rain and wind gusts of 20-30 mph through the afternoon and into the evening.
At the coast, the worst of this storm will be now into tomorrow midday. Heavy rains of 4-6 inches, rough surf, beach erosion, flooding as well as a storm surge of 3-5 feet will make this a dangerous, life threatening storm. Sustained winds will be 25-50 mph with gusts over 60 mph. An isolated tornado is not out of the question. Winds and rain will diminish along the coast tomorrow night.
All areas over the eastern part of the state will have a much better day Sunday with sunshine returning and much less wind. Dry, pleasant weather will continue Monday. A new trough coming in from northwest will merge with mid-level moisture left over from Ophelia to generate a few showers Tuesday into Thursday.
Another scenario is that the energy from Ophelia will never escape to the northeast, but instead return from the northeast, pushing an organized area of rain and gusty winds toward the mid-Atlantic coast and perhaps as far west as the Carolina Piedmont (the middle of next week).
Have a great weekend and stay safe!