Despite higher storm surges, conditions to improve this evening

Published 1:23 pm Saturday, September 23, 2023

Storm surges from Tropical Storm Ophelia are estimated to be around 5ft. with some areas possibly seeing higher amounts which is more than initial forecasts, according to Beaufort County Emergency Services Director Chris Newkirk. Beaufort County Emergency Services is working to get more accurate estimates. 

What this means for Beaufort County residents is increased flooding causing some roadways to be inaccessible until later tonight. Residents are encouraged to stay home as flooding begins to recede. Newkirk said water is expected to slowly recede for the next two hours as of 1 p.m. on Saturday. 

“Do not drive in flood water. If you’re in a safe place, stay there and the water will quickly go down this afternoon,” Newkirk said. “Please do not get out and about. Stay off the roads, and do not drive through flood water.” 

Storm surges were higher than anticipated, because Tropical Storm Ophelia shifted west. Newkirk said “it’s a worse case scenario” anytime a storm passes Beaufort County’s western side, because it pumps water up the Pamlico River.

Wind conditions are expected to improve mid-afternoon on Saturday. Once the wind shifts to the southwest region of Beaufort County between 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., water is expected to quickly recede. 

Newkirk re-iterated, “If you do not have to be out, don’t get out and let this weather pass. Conditions will start to improve tonight and we should be in a much better place.” 

According to Duke Energy, there are about 470 power outages in Washington as of 1:15 p.m. on Saturday and around 370 in the Edward, Aurora and Royal areas. Tideland Electric is reporting 51 current outages and most outages occurred between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.