Ophelia weakens to a tropical depression as storm Philippe forms

Washington/Miami, Sep 23 (EFE).- Tropical Storm Ophelia, which made landfall near Emerald Isle, in North Carolina on Saturday causing heavy rainfall and winds, was downgraded to a tropical depression, while another storm, Philippe, formed in the southeast of the Atlantic basin.

Ophelia, which made landfall around 6:15 am with winds of 113 kilometers per hour (70 miles per hour), reached southeastern Virginia in the evening, although more weakened, and is moving north at 9 miles per hour.

The now tropical depression has maximum sustained winds of 55 kilometers per hour and is expected to continue weakening as it moves north of the US east coast until it downgrades to a post-tropical cyclone on Sunday, according to the National Hurricane Center (NHC).

However, the storm is still dumping rain across several East Coast states, including Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and New York.

According to the specialized website PowerOutage, more than 12 hours after making landfall, some 14,000 homes and businesses in Virginia, and some in North Carolina, were still without electricity due to Ophelia, which initially caused some 70,000 outages.

The threat of rain also caused two Major League Baseball games scheduled for Saturday to be postponed.

Images and videos posted on social media on Saturday showed flooded roads in the coastal towns of North Carolina that experienced flooding due to the storm surge.

As Ophelia moves along the central Atlantic coast of the US, tropical depression 17, formed on Saturday, became tropical storm Philippe later in the day.

Philippe, which is located 1,680 kilometers west of the African islands of Cape Verde, carries sustained winds of 65 kilometers per hour and is expected to gradually weaken in the coming days, according to the NHC.

No warnings have been issued in coastal areas due to the storm, located over the southeast of the Atlantic basin and moving west at 22 kilometers per hour.

On Aug. 10, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) predicted an “above normal” Atlantic hurricane season, with the formation of between 14 and 21 tropical storms, of which between 6 and 11 would be hurricanes.

In the current season, which ends on Nov. 30, 6 hurricanes have formed, and one of them, Lee, reached category 5 strength, the maximum on the Saffir-Simpson intensity scale. EFE


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