Rains, wind from Tropical Storm Ophelia expected to continue through weekend

Sep. 23—Steady rain and wind from Tropical Storm Ophelia is predicted to continue in Berks County through Saturday and into Sunday, with the storm winding down by Monday, according to AccuWeather.

The storm made landfall about 6:15 a.m. Saturday near Emerald Isle, N.C., bringing maximum sustained winds of 65 miles per hour, flooding coastal areas, and knocking out power for over 80,000 Saturday morning from North Carolina to New Jersey.

Locally, the storm is expected to produce gusts of 30 miles per hour and peak sustained winds of 17 miles per hour throughout Saturday and into Sunday, with winds and rain starting to weaken Saturday night to early Sunday.

"We're going to be contending with rain for the remainder of (Saturday) afternoon into (Saturday night), then a lighter, more intermittent rain into tomorrow," said Dan Pydynowski, meteorologist with AccuWeather, "temperatures won't be going much of anywhere, maybe we get into the lower 60s tomorrow, really it's a breezy, chilly, wet weekend."

Two to four inches of total rainfall is expected in the area, leading to areas of urban flooding south and east of Philadelphia, along with winds that may be strong enough to break tree branches and cause outages, according to AccuWeather.

Small-scale outages occured throughout Berks Saturday, with the largest outage affecting about 200 PPL customers in Heidelberg Township.

Multiple emergency calls for downed trees blocking roadways were reported as of Saturday afternoon. One call in South Heidelberg involved a broken tree collapsing a roof, and roads in Alsace and Cumru townships were temporarily closed as crews removed trees from the paths of traffic.

Pydynowski said Ophelia's rain totals in Berks are likely to trend closer to two inches, with minor flooding possible due to steady rains.

"There are going to be some local areas that get three to four inches, but I think most areas will probbanly trend closer to the two inch mark...the rain is falling over a duration of a day...so we won't see massive, widespread flooding," Pydynowski said. "That being said, I think we'll see some minor flooding through the weekend."

He said the flooding could create standing water along low lying areas or roads with poor drainage.

Emergency reports noted several car accidents late Saturday morning, including an accident requiring traffic control along a road bend in the 200 block of Sweitzer Road in Lower Heidelberg Township, and a vehicle off the roadway along Barto Road in Washington Township.

Sustained rains are expected to continue through Saturday, causing ponding along streets and highways. Temperatures will remain relatively steady through Saturday, with a high of 60 degrees and a low of 56 degrees predicted.

A high of 62 and a low of 57 degrees is predicted for Sunday, with wind gusts as high as 27 miles per hour during the day, and peak wind gusts slowing to 13 miles per hour at night.

Scattered rains are expected to continue into Monday, until the storm gives way to cloudy skies Monday night. Temperatures are predicted to rise slightly Monday to a high of 70 degrees.