© 2023 254 North Front Street, Suite 300, Wilmington, NC 28401 | 910.343.1640
News Classical 91.3 Wilmington 92.7 Wilmington 96.7 Southport
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Coastal Cape Fear on watch as Tropical Storm Ophelia approaches

A National Weather Service map of potential tropical cyclone 16. It shows the path of the storm. The entire North Carolina coast is on tropical storm warning. The storm is expected to hit early Saturday morning.
Photo courtesy of National Weather Service
A potential tropical cyclone is expected to hit Cape Fear early Saturday morning.

The National Weather Service says the storm will likely arrive tonight, bringing heavy winds, rains, and unsafe maritime conditions.

Update: The tropical cyclone is now officially Tropical Storm Ophelia, and the National Weather Service has updated the expected rainfall and flooding risk.

A quick summary of impacts that are expected by the NWS, across northeast SC and southeast NC include:

  • Heavy rainfall with amounts of 3 to 6 inches across portions of southeast NC with 6 to 8-inch amounts across Pender, New Hanover, and eastern Brunswick Counties
  • Some storm surge/coastal flooding (1-3’ inundation above ground level, especially north of Cape Fear)
  • Strong winds of 20 to 30 mph, with gusts to 40 to 50 mph especially along the coastal areas around Cape Fear northward to Surf City, NC (higher gusts are expected just off the coast).
  • Strong rip currents and very rough surf
  • Hazardous maritime conditions with large/steep seas

On Thursday night, the National Weather Service issued a potential tropical cyclone advisory for eastern North Carolina. The advisory will impact coastal Cape Fear, with storm impacts hitting Brunswick County, New Hanover County, and Pender County late this afternoon and through Saturday morning.

WHQR will be regularly updating this page with the latest news on closures and storm developments.

What to expect

The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rainfall, storm surge, tropical storm winds, and rough surf and maritime conditions all through Friday night.

It looks like there will probably be about 2 to 4 inches of rain in some areas, with higher levels expected on the coast. Storm surge will likely be about 1 to 3 feet above ground level, particularly north of Cape Fear near northern Pender and Onslow. Winds will be around 20 to 30 miles per hour, with gusts of 40 to 50 miles per hour from the South Carolina border up to Surf City.

Further impacts could include some downed large limbs and trees, along with some power outages.


Pender County, Brunswick County, and New Hanover County all stated that they are monitoring the approaching storm.

Brunswick County announced that it would be canceling parks and recreation activities for Friday night. No other county service closures have been announced at this time.

Pender County Schools and Brunswick County Schools are both operating on staggered early release schedules, with all school operations ending by 1 p.m. All afterschool activities are canceled for Friday.

UNCW has not announced any closures or cancellations. Neither has CFCC. Brunswick Community College announced that its campus will close at 1 p.m., with all evening classes canceled or moved to remote. BCC will operate on a normal schedule on Saturday.