Sept. 22, 2023 - Ophelia has formed into a tropical storm, and Hampton is expected to experience heavy winds, heavy rainfall, high tides, and storm surge, starting Friday afternoon and going through Saturday.
Winds are predicted to hit 30 mph at 4 p.m. and remain at or above 30 mph through 9 p.m. Saturday, according to the National Weather Service predictions. Gusts are expected to be 45-55 mph.
The high tide, around 3:30 a.m. overnight tonight is predicted to be 6.4 feet above mean lower low water. For comparison, 6.5 feet is consider major flooding, at the level from Joaquin in 2015. But weather forecasters caution that the tide isn't the whole story: The storm surge is expected to push water along the coast 2-4 feet above ground level. In addition, 4-6 inches of rain are expected. Saturday afternoon's high tide will be in the flood stage as well.
The National Weather Service has issued a tropical storm warning and a storm surge warning. There is also a risk of tornadoes.
People who live in low-lying areas, such as Zone A, should consider staying with someone on higher ground tonight. The city will open a shelter at Phenix K-8 school, 1061 Big Bethel Rd, at 5 p.m. today. Go here for tips on what to bring to a shelter. People who want to park cars on higher ground can use the city parking garage on Settlers Landing Road near the Hampton History Museum.
Most city facilities will be closed Saturday. Check the list, which will be updated through Saturday.
Governor Glenn Youngkin declared a State of Emergency. That allows the state to mobilize resources and funding, but it is also a reminder to the public to take the storm seriously. The City of Hampton also issued an emergency declaration.
Residents are reminded not to have any bulk trash or mobile towers on the street. In floods, bulk trash can float and clog storm drains, making flooding worse. Residents are also urged to secure items in their yards that could blow and/or could damage other objects in high winds.
City officials are urging people to stay off the roads, particularly around the high tides. If the road is covered by water, do not drive through it.
The forecast may change as the storm develops. Stay tuned to Hampton’s news (sign up at Hampton.gov/notifyme), and watch the city’s Facebook, Twitter/X accounts, as well as NextDoor. People can also call 311 to report problems or ask questions.