Ophelia churns up NC coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 7:48 PM GMT on September 14, 2005

Share this Blog
0
+

The north and west eyewall of Ophelia have whipped near-hurricane force winds over Wilmington, NC and the surrounding waters the past few hours. NOAA buoy 41013 located south of Wilmington, saw maximum sustained winds of 63 mph, gusting to 72 mph. A NOAA reporting station at Wrightville Beach North Carolina recorded 6-minute average wind speed of 68 mph with a gust to 77 mph. A Wilmington Personal Weather Station, NC State Ports, recorded maximum sustained winds of 66 mph, gusting to 72 mph at 2:25pm. A peak gust of 78 mph occured there a few minutes later. The NOAA aircraft's SFMR instrument measured surface winds of 65 kt (minimum hurricane force), over a small area on the southwest side of the hurricane at 12:30pm today. Thus, NHC's estimate of hurricane force winds extending out 50 miles from the center is misleading; there are probably only a few small pockets of sustained hurricane force winds at the surface. Given that Ophelia now has an easterly component of motion and is expected to move nearly parallel to the coast, it is unlikely that any portion of North Carolina will see sustained hurricane force winds today. On Thursday, Cape Hatteras may see hurricane force winds, but I think this is unlikely, given the track of the storm and the possibility that she may weaken. The winds at the Cape Lookout CMAN station located in the just outside the east eyewall should be interesting to watch the next 18 hours, as Ophelia should pass directly overhead. Peak winds last hour were 57 mph, gusting to 66 mph there.


Figure 1. Surface wind estimates at 12:30pm this afternoon from the NOAA aircraft's SFMR instrument show only a small area of hurricane force winds (65 knots) on Ophelia's southwest side.

Radar out of Morehead City, NC has shown little change in the storm's organization the past few hours, and the last six hours of hurricane hunter reports have shown a relatively constant pressure, oscillating between 979 and 980 mb. Ophelia is likely as strong as she is going to get, and I expect we will see some slow weakening the next 36 hours as she continues her slow march along the coast.

The predominant danger from Ophelia remains her storm surge, which is more characteristic of a strong Category 1 or weak Category 2 hurricane. A long-lasting storm surge of 6 - 8 feet is possible in many coastal areas of North Carolina. Already, storm surges of up to 7 feet have been reported in some areas, equalling the storm surges generated from Category 2 Hurricane Isabel in 2003. Isabel did about $130 million in damage to North Carolina, and I expect we'll see damages around the $100 million mark for Ophelia.



Flooding of low-lying areas from rain could be a problem in some places; Oak Island south of Wilmington, NC on Cape Fear has already received nine inches or rain. Another 5 - 10 inches of rain is likely from this wet, slow-moving storm.


Figure 2. Rainfall estimates from the Wilmington Doppler radar.

Elsewhere in the tropics
A large tropical wave near 9N 43W or about 1000 miles east of Venezuela and the Windward Islands was very disorganized this morning, but has become quite well organized this afternoon. Upper level winds shear is 10 - 15 knots and falling, and some upper level outflow has developed on the north side of the disturbance. Winds observed by the QuikSCAT satellite show two circulation centers associated with the disturbance, one near 9N 43W and the other near 11N 46W. This disturbance has the potential to develop into a tropical depression later this week or early next week. Another disturbance south of the Cape Verde Islands, near 8N 28W is also starting to develop some impressive deep convection. However, this disturbance lies at the south edge of a large area of dry, dust-laden air which will slow any development that might occur.

New community chat room
For those of you tired of hitting refresh constantly and wanting to talk about the tropics, we now have a new community chat room. Just click on the link at the upper right of the blog page.

http://www.wunderground.com/community/chat.asp

Jeff Masters

Reader Comments

Comments will take a few seconds to appear.

Post Your Comments

Please sign in to post comments.

or Join

Not only will you be able to leave comments on this blog, but you'll also have the ability to upload and share your photos in our Wunder Photos section.

Display: 0, 50, 100, 200 Sort: Newest First - Order Posted

Viewing: 146 - 96

Page: 1 | 2 | 3Blog Index

146. 8888888889gg
1:39 AM GMT on September 15, 2005
IS EVERE ONE ALL OK OVERE THEERE?
145. jjduke
11:29 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Eyewall coming ashore as I write this. Winds here in Cape Carteret, Cedar Point, and Emerald Isle have been 50-60 w/ higher gusts for the past 2-3 hours. Several of the homes across the street from us (on the water) have water up to their foundations (Note: most of those houses are at 6-8 feet above sea level). Deer Creek and the canals into it are flooded, w/ several boats floated/ripped off their boat lifts. Moderate tree damage, minimal structures damaged here in Cape Carteret. News reports show downtown Swansboro businesses under 3-4 feet of water, many homes along NC24 in Cedar Point under up to 4 feet of water as well. Winds calming down at times in the past 10 minutes, we must be getting ready to go under the eye. Will check back later... I've got to go wipe up under a leaking window.
144. OBXER
11:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Going to new thread
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
143. OBXER
11:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Shoal where did you hear that and how bad?Tell Dwight to get the plane ready sounds like we may need him again.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
142. OBXER
11:21 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Shoal just got baqck from putting the truck behind the motel and then found out we are under a 7pm to 7am curfew.I think they have coined a new phrase "being under Island Arrest"lol.The ocean look pretty wid here too all the way to the dunes i think we will probably lose the new dunes at the north end and maybe some of the road.skippy seeems to his mess together with the hurricanes but i hope he is wrong, this could be a Alex,Isabelle and Emily all rolled up in one.What are the winds gusting to up there we have had over 50 already and it looks like in the next two or three hours conditions are going to start going south quick.Give me a call later.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
141. killdevilmax
11:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
New thread Dr.J update
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
140. salter
11:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lefty420 when are you leaving to the chase
139. killdevilmax
11:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
A new inlet?
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
138. shoals
11:16 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Its official...ocean washing over road at the Isabel breach in Hatteras!
137. shoals
11:04 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
OBXER, cooking my last "electric" meal. We have rain and higher gusts now, shakes a bit in the gusts. I looked at the ocean about an hour ago and it was amazing up to the ramp at CG station. Did you see on the news where part of that pier went ?

Skippy thinks it will go to cat2 possibly and said it could be horrific our way!
136. leftyy420
10:56 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol thats funny. i was watching cnn and they were giving the live update and some guy just walks in front of the cammera trying to take pics of the surf. that will be me when jim is on tv lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
135. leftyy420
10:55 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
seams like the worse wouldn't hit till midday thursday so i should be fine in driving down that way
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
134. Hydrocvl
10:55 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Will be looking at Cantore-Lefty on TV?
133. leftyy420
10:54 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
drive south till the car starts to shake form the wind lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
132. leftyy420
10:54 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah my pllan now i know there are no evacs is to head as south down 158 as i can. maybe kittyhawk maybe nagshead
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
131. pirateotobx
10:53 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I'm in carteret county just turn on the weather channel and you'll get to see...LOL...
130. leftyy420
10:52 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah looks to be a straight shot, 95 to 64 to 168to 158 and bam nagshead lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
129. OBXER
10:52 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Killdevil it sounds like a great plan to me go for it Lefty you will definetly see some weather in Nags Head.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
128. killdevilmax
10:50 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Hell you can probably get a cheap motel on the ocean. Chase in style. howaboutit OBEXR
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
127. leftyy420
10:49 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
yeah its 4 hrs or so so it would be about 3-4 am when i get there. if its bad i might just hunker down in kitty hawk
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
126. leftyy420
10:47 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
alright iwill try to head down that way as long as conditions warrant but my eta on leaving won't be till later tonight and its about a 3-4 hr drive to nags head so i wil have to make that decision when i get to va beach and just seee how far south i can go befor it gets real bad
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
125. killdevilmax
10:46 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Kitty Hawk is the first town after you cross the bridge. Next south is KDH then Nags Head. Cantore has breakfast at the Nags Head Pier. May go eat there tomorrow if it's not to bad.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
124. leftyy420
10:45 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
so i can go down 158 and 168 down that way
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
123. OBXER
10:44 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Good point Lefty go to Nags Head instead of VA Beach if there is no evac up there
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
122. killdevilmax
10:44 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Kill Devil Hills, Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, northern currituck beaches. Dare county only has a mandatory south of Oregon Inlet
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
121. leftyy420
10:44 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
i had rhoughts of myabe going little south to around barco, maybe little more down 158 but timming will be key on where i go and how far south
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
120. OBXER
10:43 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Killdevil sound looks like its about right for a high tide nd ill let you know when it starts to come up.Man i would love to be on Portsmouth tonight its probably the only place left where you could get a feel for how hurricanes were way back when
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
119. leftyy420
10:42 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
where is there no evac?
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
118. killdevilmax
10:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
OBXER Any change in the sound level? Let me know when it starts up.
Hey lefty did you read my dynamo theory? you could come down here and shmooze with Jimmy. No evac
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
117. leftyy420
10:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
good obx. i thought a tree might fallon u or something
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
116. 8888888889gg
10:40 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
CAN SOME ONE GIVE ME A UPDATE ON WHAT KIND OF WINDS YOU ARE ALL SEEING OVERE THERE?
115. OBXER
10:39 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Pirate where are you at? I hope the flooding doesnt get much higher in your are.Tree branch all taken care of.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
114. leftyy420
10:35 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
be safe obx
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
113. killdevilmax
10:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I got SE 10. The sound was about normal now is dropping a little. clouded over. pressure 1011 mb. dropping. Just got back from cleaning stuff up.
Member Since: August 28, 2005 Posts: 0 Comments: 322
112. OBXER
10:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Lefty remember the tree i told you about with all of the insects in it that i had to climb to cut a limb that was hitting my?Well guess what here i go again you think i would learn.
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
111. pirateotobx
10:32 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Hwy 24 between cedar point and Swansboro is flooding at the white oak river....hwy 24 is flooding at the broad creek bridge....good thing high tide has come(5:28) and gone....it'll be a while before the water can go down though...wind's are 60+ sustained with gusts to 80.... all the houses across the street are starting to take water on the bottom floors...down east is a mess....I took a few pictures but they're not very good....conditions are too bad to get out in very well... part of the atlantic beach pier has washed away....It may be a category 1 but it's much closer to a 2 in what it's doing...they are now expecting it to be worse than isabelle was....More to come later....
110. AM91091
10:31 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
ive got a blog, ill add a more detailed update later...
109. leftyy420
10:28 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
ok seeing my first ophelia related weather. just had a passing shower lol
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
108. OBXER
10:27 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Shoal or Killdevil whats the conditions up your way?
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
107. leftyy420
10:23 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol alright cosmic. make sure u read the new advisory at 9pm as it will include the weather predicitons for thursday in va beach.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
106. CosmicEvents
10:21 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Allright....there's no predicting exactly what you'll experience. A little jog right or left could make all the difference. I hope you stay safe and get a good show.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5673
105. leftyy420
10:21 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
here is the link ot the forcast track. remerb that its the storm cenetr and it has a 50 mile wide eye. at 200pm thursday it is about 70 miles directly south of va beach.
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
104. leftyy420
10:19 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
look at gthe track postion for tonight of the storm. she won't even be at ahheras yet. she won't be cenetred ontop of hatteras till 2pm tomm. so no the storm will not be moving away from me by that time
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
103. leftyy420
10:18 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
and the forcast for tomm calles for sustained winds 39-49mph. just what i said. u can expect higher gusts as well. and than u must unerstand i will be right on the beach and with a onshore flow those winds could be even higher than that but not much higher
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
102. CosmicEvents
10:17 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
I do. Except the storm is forecast to be moving away from you after that...if you read further. Whatever...I hope you get a good show. Whatever floats your boat. I don't want to rain on your parade.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5673
101. leftyy420
10:16 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
i gave u the forcast for tomm as they have not issued a statement on tomm yet and will probly do that at 11pm. i already stated the worse effect will not be felt in va beach till thursady afternoon
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
100. leftyy420
10:15 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
and my point was that that advisory was for tonight not tomm. understand now?
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
99. CosmicEvents
10:14 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
You're right lefyyyy......that's exactly the forecast that I was referring to. Except the 550PM advisory you give is actually 5 MPH lower than the 3PM advisory that I gave you.
Member Since: August 3, 2005 Posts: 10 Comments: 5673
98. leftyy420
10:13 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
lol obx thats funny
Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987
97. OBXER
10:11 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
Im back the water was up to the dune line and it looked to be around 10 to 12 foot seas but the police were shutting the accesss down and as i had a cocktail with me didnt want to get a better look
Member Since: September 24, 2001 Posts: 0 Comments: 11
96. leftyy420
10:09 PM GMT on September 14, 2005
and this is the forcast for tonight

SUSTAINED WINDS TO 25 TO 35 MPH WITH GUSTS TO 45 MPH ARE EXPECTED
TO OVERSPREAD EXTREME SOUTHEAST VIRGINIA TONIGHT. THE HIGHEST WINDS
AND WIND GUSTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE NEAR THE MOUTH OF THE CHESAPEAKE
BAY...AND POTENTIALLY OVER PARTS OF NORFOLK AND VIRGINIA BEACH.
SCATTERED POWER OUTAGES ARE EXPECTED DUE TO THE STRONG WINDS.

Member Since: August 24, 2005 Posts: 35 Comments: 1987

Viewing: 146 - 96

Page: 1 | 2 | 3Blog Index

Top of Page

About

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

Local Weather

Mostly Cloudy
47 °F
Mostly Cloudy