Flood Warnings Issued for US Mid-Atlantic Coast as Ophelia Storm Moves North

Maryland: Tropical Storm “Ophelia” was downgraded today to a post-tropical low, but continued to pose a threat of coastal flooding and flash floods in the mid-Atlantic region, the US National Hurricane Center said.

Residents in parts of coastal North Carolina and Virginia experienced flooding after the storm made landfall near a North Carolina barrier island, bringing rain, damaging winds and dangerous surges.

The US center said “Ophelia” reduced to a weak form of a tropical storm, was located about 30 miles (50 kilometers) south-southwest of Richmond, Virginia, and about 85 miles (135 kilometers) southeast of Charlottesville, Virginia. The storm had maximum sustained winds of 35 mph (55 kph) with higher gusts.

Tens of thousands of North Carolina homes and businesses remained without electricity across several eastern counties.

It is not uncommon for one or two tropical storms, or even hurricanes, to develop off the US East Coast each year, the US National Hurricane Center added.

Scientists say climate change could result in hurricanes expanding their reach into mid-latitude regions more often, making storms like this month’s Hurricane Lee more common.

One study simulated tropical hurricane tracks from pre-industrial times, modern times and a future with higher emissions. It found that hurricanes would track closer to the coasts, including around Boston, New York City and Virginia, and be more likely to form along the Southeast coast.

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