Tropical Storm Ophelia weakens to a tropical depression as it moves northwards towards Richmond, Virginia and Ocean City, Maryland. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) reported that the storm’s maximum sustained winds had decreased to 35 miles per hour and it was moving at a speed of 9 mph.
After making landfall on Saturday, the cyclone continued to lose strength as it traveled across North Carolina and Virginia. However, it is still expected to bring heavy rainfall of up to 8 inches, which could pose a risk to the population.
All previous warnings and surveillance have been lifted, but the system is forecasted to produce between 3 to 5 inches of rain with localized amounts of 7 inches across the eastern mid-Atlantic region from North Carolina to New Jersey through Sunday.
In addition to the heavy rain, the storm’s waves are likely to cause life-threatening rip currents along the east coast of the United States until this weekend.
This year’s Atlantic hurricane season, which runs from June 1 to November 30, has seen the formation of a total of 15 tropical storms so far. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) had predicted between 14 and 21 named storms, of which between 6 and 11 were expected to become hurricanes. Out of these hurricanes, 2 to 5 were predicted to be of great intensity (category 3 to 5).
The storms that have formed during this season include an unnamed subtropical storm in January, followed by Arlene, Bret, Cindy, Don, Emily, Franklin, Gert, Harold, Idalia, José, Katia, Lee, Margot, and Nigel. Some of these storms, including Don, Franklin, Idalia, Lee, Margot, and Nigel, have even reached hurricane strength.
As Tropical Storm Ophelia weakens and moves away from the United States, authorities and residents remain cautious and prepared for the remainder of the hurricane season.