The storm is moving north-northwest off the coast of North Carolina and is expected to strengthen slightly before making landfall tonight. Ophelia is bringing tropical-storm conditions, heavy rainfall, strong winds and flooding to portions of the southeast and mid-Atlantic coasts.
Tropical storm and storm surge warnings were issued for parts of the east coast from South Carolina to the Chesapeake Bay area of the mid-Atlantic.
In Florida, waves of heavy rainfall may occur along the northeast coast, but the real danger will be the rough surf and high risk of deadly rip currents. The National Weather Service has issued a rip current statement from north Florida down to Flagler County through Saturday night, and from Volusia County done to the Southern Brevard barrier islands through late tonight.
Rough surf of 4 to 6 feet is expected in Jacksonville and a small craft advisory is in effect.
Meanwhile, Hurricane Nigel is now Post-Tropical Cyclone Nigel, with maximum sustained winds of 70 mph. Nigel is expected to continue weakening and the NHC is no longer tracking the system.
Looking ahead, showers and thunderstorms continue to show signs of organization with a broad area of low pressure off the coast of Africa near the Cabo Verde Islands and a tropical depression is likely to form this weekend or early next week as it starts to head this way.
The next two names for tropical storms are Opehlia and Phillippe.
Here's the latest update from the NHC as of 2 p.m.:
Track Tropical Storm Ophelia
Special note on the NHC cone: The forecast track shows the most likely path of the center of the storm. It does not illustrate the full width of the storm or its impacts, and the center of the storm is likely to travel outside the cone up to 33% of the time.
Location: 150 miles southeast of Cape Fear, North Carolina, about 185 miles south of Cape Hatteras, North Carolina
Maximum wind speed: 60 mph
Direction: north-northwest at 12 mph
At 11:00 a.m. EDT, the center of Tropical Storm Ophelia was located near latitude 32.7 North, longitude 76.0 West. Ophelia is moving toward the north-northwest near 12 mph. This general motion is expected to continue during the next day or so, followed by a slight turn toward the north. On the forecast track, the center of Ophelia will approach the coast of North Carolina tonight, and then move across eastern North Carolina, southeastern Virginia, and the Delmarva Peninsula Saturday and Sunday.
Data from the Air Force Reserve Hurricane Hunters and satellite wind data indicate that maximum sustained winds have increased to near 60 mph with higher gusts. Some slight strengthening is possible before landfall along the coast of North Carolina.
Tropical-storm-force winds extend outward up to 275 miles from the center. NOAA buoy 41025 at Diamond Shoals, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 47 mph and a gust of 60 mph. A NOAA C-MAN station at Cape Lookout, North Carolina, recently reported a sustained wind of 45 mph and a gust of 52 mph.
The estimated minimum central pressure is 992 mb (29.29 inches).
Tropical storm conditions are expected to affect North Carolina, but much of Florida's east coast may see showers this evening. Swells generated by this system will be affecting much of the east coast of the United States through this weekend.
What else is out there and how likely are they to strengthen?
Shower and thunderstorm activity associated with an area of low pressure located several hundred miles west of the Cabo Verde Islands has decreased slightly over the last few hours, however, further development is still expected.
A tropical depression is likely to form during the next couple of days while the system moves generally westward at 10 to 15 mph. The system is then expected to turn west-northwestward early next week as it moves over the central tropical Atlantic.
Formation chance through 48 hours: high, 70 percent.
Formation chance through seven days: high, 90 percent.
Post Tropical Cyclone Nigel has weakened to 70 mph maximum sustained winds, about 640 miles west of the Azores, and is expected to continue weakening. The NHC has stopped tracking it.
Who is likely to be impacted?
Tropical Storm Ophelia: Tropical storm conditions are expected to affect North Carolina, but some of Florida's east coast may see showers this evening and swells generated by this system will be affecting much of the east coast of the United States through this weekend.
It's too early at this time to determine if there will be any impact to the U.S. from the system near Africa.
Forecasters urge all residents to continue monitoring the tropics and to always be prepared.
Weather watches and warnings issued in Florida
When is the Atlantic hurricane season?
The Atlantic hurricane season runs from June 1 through Nov. 30.
When is the peak of hurricane season?
The peak of the season is Sept. 10, with the most activity happening between mid-August and mid-October, according to the Hurricane Center.
Tropical forecast over the next seven days
Excessive rainfall forecast
What's out there?
Systems currently being monitored by the National Hurricane Center.
Embedded content: https://www.nhc.noaa.gov/xgtwo/two_atl_0d0.png?052051
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This article originally appeared on The Daytona Beach News-Journal: National Hurricane Center: Tropical Storm Ophelia threatens U.S. coast