As Tropical Storm Ophelia continued its relentless assault on the East Coast, New York City residents were urged to evacuate their basement apartments and seek higher ground.
The storm, which had been downgraded to a post-tropical cyclone, still posed significant threats with its heavy rainfall and life-threatening surf.
The storm first made landfall near Emerald Isle in North Carolina, where it unleashed winds of up to 70mph, causing widespread flooding and power outages. The storm surge also led to elevated water levels in parts of the Chesapeake Bay.
Despite the inclement weather, resilient New Yorkers attended the Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, braving the rain to enjoy performances by renowned artists like the Red Hot Chili Peppers and Lauryn Hill.
— WeatherNation (@WeatherNation) September 24, 2023
In a press release, authorities warned of potential flooding in low-lying areas and poor drainage zones during periods of heavy rainfall.
They also cautioned against the high risk of life-threatening rip currents, large breaking waves, and rough surf at Atlantic-facing beaches. The storm’s swells were expected to generate deadly waves and rip current conditions, posing a significant threat to coastal communities.
As Ophelia moved north, it brought heavy rainfall and surf to New York, while also causing power outages in North Carolina and New Jersey.
The storm was near hurricane strength when it hit Emerald Isle, resulting in power outages and flooded streets. States of emergency were declared in Virginia, North Carolina, and Maryland due to the storm’s impact.
New York City’s Emergency Management Commissioner, Zach Iscol, urged residents to stay vigilant and take necessary precautions. He reminded New Yorkers that despite the arrival of fall, the city was still in the middle of the Atlantic Hurricane season.
He advised residents, especially those living in flood-prone areas, to review their preparedness plans.
— AccuWeather (@accuweather) September 25, 2023
The National Hurricane Center predicted additional rainfall of one to three inches on Monday morning, spreading across the northern Mid-Atlantic, southern parts of New York, and southern New England.
This could lead to localized flash, urban, and small stream flooding, as well as isolated river flooding.
In light of these warnings, residents living in basement apartments were advised to prepare to move to higher ground to avoid dangerous flooding. The press release also encouraged the use of public transportation to prevent city dwellers from driving into flooded streets.