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Hurricane Ophelia

Event Description
 
   OPHELIA WAS FIRST IDENTIFIED AS A TROPICAL STORM ON SEPTEMBER 6, 2005 WHILE CENTERED OVER GRAND BAHAMA ISLAND...ABOUT 90 MILES EAST OF THE FLORIDA COAST. FOR THE NEXT WEEK OPHELIA MEANDERED SLOWLY NORTH, REACHING HURRICANE STRENGTH (74 MPH) ON SEPTEMBER 8 WHILE ABOUT 65 MILES EAST OF CAPE CANAVERAL, DROPPING BELOW AND THEN RETURNING TO HURRICANE STRENGTH ON THE 9TH AND AGAIN ON THE 10TH.

 

   ON SATURDAY SEP 10 AT 11 AM...WHILE OPHELIA WAS CENTERED ABOUT 275 MILES EAST OF SAVANNAH, GA A HURRICANE WATCH WAS RAISED FROM SAVANNAH TO CAPE LOOKOUT, NC. ON SUNDAY SEP 11 AT 5 PM WHILE OPHELIA WAS CENTERED 250 MILES ESE OF CHARLESTON, SC A TROPICAL STORM WARNING WAS RAISED FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER, SC TO CAPE LOOKOUT, NC...AND ON SEP 12 OPHELIA AGAIN DROPPED BELOW HURRICANE STRENGTH.
 
   AT 11 PM ON MONDAY SEP 12 A HURRICANE WARNING WAS RAISED FROM SOUTH SANTEE RIVER, SC TO CAPE LOOKOUT, NC WHILE OPHELIA WAS CENTERED ABOUT 140 MILES SSE OF MYRTLE BEACH, SC.
 
   NORTHEAST WINDS GUSTED 30 TO 40 MPH ACROSS THE CAROLINAS ON MONDAY AND TUESDAY THE 12TH AND 13TH FROM HIGH SURFACE PRESSURE OVER THE APPALACHIANS TO THE LOW PRESSURE CENTER OF OPHELIA. ON THE 13TH AT 5 PM OPHELIA AGAIN REACHED HURRICANE STRENGTH WITH 74 MPH WINDS. WHILE CENTERED ABOUT 100 MILES SE OF MYRTLE BEACH AND IT MOVED ERRATICALLY TOWARD THE NORTH UNTIL BY SUNRISE ON THE 14TH IT WAS ABOUT 70 MILES ESE OF MYRTLE BEACH OR 40 MILES SOUTH OF CAPE FEAR, NC WITH SUSTAINED WINDS NEAR 80 MPH. 
 
   DURING THE DAY ON WEDNESDAY SEP 14 OPHELIA MOVED TOWARD THE NORTHEAST AT ABOUT 7 MPH...SKIRTING THE CAPE FEAR COAST. AT 11 AM THE CENTER OF OPHELIA WAS ABOUT 25 MILES SE OF CAPE FEAR WITH AN EYE DIAMETER OF ABOUT 50 MILES AND THE EYE WALL OVER PENDER, NEW HANOVER, AND BRUNSWICK COUNTIES IN SOUTHEAST NC. AT 11 AM THE HURRICANE WARNING OVER SOUTH CAROLINA WAS LOWERED TO A TROPICAL STORM WARNING.  AT 5 PM THE CENTER WAS 35 MILES EAST OF WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH AND THE TROPICAL STORM WARNING OVER SC WAS CANCELED. BY SUNDOWN THE CENTER OF OPHELIA WAS 45 MILES ESE OF SURF CITY NC.  AT 5 AM ON THURSDAY SEP 15...WHEN OPHELIA WAS CENTERED NEAR CAPE LOOKOUT NC...THE HURRICANE WARNING WAS CANCELED SOUTH OF SURF CITY.

Satellite Image of Hurricane Ophelia
Satellite Image of Hurricane Ophelia taken on
September 14, 2005 (click to enlarge)



Highest Winds

LOCATION
MAXIMUM SUSTAINED WIND
PEAK WIND GUST
WILMINGTON NC AIRPORT KILM ASOS
MAX SUSTAINED 42 KT/ 48 MPH AT 1658Z 
PEAK WIND 59 KT/68 MPH AT 1950Z
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH JOHNNY MERCER PIER NOAA/NOS 
SUSTAINED 59 KT / 68 MPH AT 1700Z  
PEAK WIND 69 KT/79 MPH AT 1648Z
SOUTHPORT NC BRUNSWICK COUNTY AIRPORT KSUT AWOS 
MAX SUSTAINED 36 KT / 41 MPH AT 1824Z 
PEAK WIND 56 KT/64 MPH AT 1324Z
KURE BEACH NC LA QUE CENTER 
 
 
PEAK WIND 68 KT/78 MPH
BALD HEAD ISLAND NC MARINA
 
 
PEAK WIND 73 KT/84 MPH 
SUNSET BEACH NC NOAA/NOS PIER 
MAX SUSTAINED 33 KT/38 MPH AT 1300Z 
PEAK WIND 46 KT/53 MPH AT 1200Z
NORTH MYRTLE BEACH SC AIRPORT KCRE ASOS
MAX SUSTAINED 20 KT/23 MPH AT 1253Z 
PEAK WIND 33 KT/38 MPH AT 1249Z
MYRTLE BEACH SC AIRPORT KMYR AWOS 
MAX SUSTAINED 25 KT/29 MPH AT 0455Z 
PEAK WIND 38 KT/44 MPH AT 1050Z
SPRINGMAID PIER SC NOAA/NOS 
MAX SUSTAINED 24 KT/28 MPH AT 1800Z 
PEAK WIND 37 KT/47 MPH AT 1200Z
COLUMBUS COUNTY WHITEVILLE NC AIRPORT KCPC AWOS
MAX SUSTAINED 13 KT/15 MPH AT 1620Z 
PEAK WIND 28KT/32 MPH AT 1300Z
FLORENCE SC AIRPORT KFLO ASOS 
MAX SUSTAINED 20 KT/23 MPH AT 1628Z 
PEAK WIND 26 KT/30 MPH AT 1556Z
DARLINGTON SC AIRPORT KUDG AWOS
MAX SUSTAINED 16 KT/18 MPH AT 1415Z 
PEAK WIND 24 KT/28 MPH AT 1435Z
NDBC FRYING PAN SHOALS BUOY 41013
MAX 10 MIN SUSTAINED 54 KT/62 MPH AT 1750Z 
MAX 5 SEC GUST 68 KT/78 MPH AT 1700Z
NDBC EDISTO BUOY 41004
MAX 10 MIN SUSTAINED 45 KT/52 MPH AT 0030Z
MAX 5 SEC GUST 60 KT/69 MPH AT 0025Z
CORMP ONSLOW BAY BUOY 41035
MAX SUSTAINED 47 KT/54 MPH AT 2020Z 
MAX GUST 60 KT/69 MPH AT 2350Z

 

Plot of highest winds Maximum 1-minute sustained surface winds (kt)
Wind Analyses
  Preliminary and Experimental Maximum Sustained Wind Swath, courtesy of HRD (click to enlarge)

 


Rainfall

Storm total rainfall occurred between 9/12/05 and 9/15/05. About 70 percent of the rain occurred on the 14th.

  • 17.5" Oak Island Brunswick County NC Water Treatment Plant

  • 10.74" Sunny Point Brunswick County NC RAWS Site

  • 10.36" Supply Brunswick County NC RAWS Site

  • 8.23" WFO Wilmington NC Airport ASOS

  • 7.63" Surf City Pender County NC

  • 7.38" Southport NC Brunswick County Airport AWOS

  • 6.81" Back Island Pender County RAWS Site

  • 6.20" Kure Beach NC La Que Center

  • 6.30" North Myrtle Beach SC Airport ASOS

  • 3.09" Whiteville Columbus County NC RAWS Site

  • 1.87" Elizabethtown Bladen County NC Airport AWOS

  • 1.52" Whiteville Columbus County NC Airport AWOS

  • 0.06" Darlington County SC Airport AWOS

  • Trace Florence County SC Airport ASOS

Flooding:

PENDER AND NEW HANOVER COUNTIES NC...
PONDING...MAINLY ON ROADWAYS ASSOCIATED WITH 5-9 INCHES OF RAIN
OVER 2-3 DAYS. CAROLINA BEACH LAKE, A RAINWATER CATCHMENT LAKE,
HAD BEEN PUMPED OUT BEFORE THE EVENT, BUT FLOODED SURROUNDING 
HOMES WITH 1.5 FEET OF RAINWATER. 
 
BRUNSWICK COUNTY NC...
HEAVIER RAINS ACCUMULATED MORE THAN 12 INCHES IN PARTS OF THE 
EASTERN HALF OF THE COUNTY WITH AROUND 100,000,000,000 
(100 BILLION) GALLONS OF WATER ACROSS THE COUNTY THAT CAUSED 
ROAD CLOSURES ESPECIALLY FROM THE SHALLOTTE RIVER TO SUPPLY 
AND EASTWARD. HIGH WATER UP TO 4 FT DEEP CLOSED BRIDGES AND 
ROADS. 

2-Day Radar-Derived Precipitation Estimates
2-Day Radar-Derived Precipitation Estimates

Radar Estimated Rainfall

Observed Rainfall from 9/12/05 to 9/15/05

 
Radar Estimated Rainfall from 9/14/05 to 9/16/05  

Lowest Pressure:

  • NDBC FRYING PAN SHOALS BUOY 41013... 980.8 MB AT 0950Z
  • WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH JOHNNY MERCER PIER NOAA/NOS 984.8 MB AT 1854Z 
  • SOUTHPORT NC BRUNSWICK COUNTY AIRPORT KSUT 988.1 MB AT 1504Z 
  • WFO WILMINGTON NC KILM ASOS... 989.5 MB AT 1850Z 
  • SUNSET BEACH PIER NC NOAA/NOS... 996.0 MB AT 1400Z 
  • NORTH MYRTLE BEACH SC AIRPORT KCRE... 999.7 MB AT 1336Z 
  • SPRINGMAID PIER SC NOAA/NOS... 1000.5 MB AT 0942Z
  • MYRTLE BEACH SC AIRPORT KMYR... 1000.7 MB AT 1050Z
  • COLUMBUS COUNTY AIRPORT KCPC WHITEVILLE NC...  1001.4 MB AT 1819Z
  • ELIZABETHTOWN NC AWOS KEYF... 1002.7 MB AT 1820Z
  • FLORENCE SC AIRPORT KFLO ASOS... 1006.8 MB AT 1034Z
  • DARLINGTON COUNTY SC AIRPORT KUDG AWOS... 1008.5 MB AT 0835Z 
  • NDBC EDISTO BUOY 41004... 996.4 MB AT 2150Z 9/13
  • CORMP ONSLOW BAY BUOY 41035... 982.0 MB AT 2120Z

Storm Tides:

AS OPHELIA PASSED THE AREA JUST OFF THE COAST...NORTHEAST WIND 
GUSTING 30 TO 40 MPH DOWN THE COAST ON THE 12TH AND 13TH FORCED 
TIDES AROUND 2 FT ABOVE NORMAL. WHEN OPHELIA PASSED ON THE 
14TH...THE TIME OF MAXIMUM SURGE NEARLY COINCIDED WITH LOW TIDE. 
MOST SALT WATER FLOODING WAS ON THE SOUND SIDE OF BARRIER 
ISLANDS...AROUND 14 INCHES COVERING ROADWAYS AT TOPSAIL BEACH AND 
CAROLINA BEACH NC. FLOODING WAS MINOR MAINLY THE DAY BEFORE ON THE 
13TH IN GEORGETOWN COUNTY SC AT GARDEN CITY...LITCHFIELD BEACH AND 
PAWLEYS ISLAND.
 
MLLW = MEAN LOWER LOW WATER (FEET ABOVE AVERAGE LOWER LOW TIDE)
 
OYSTER LANDING SC (GEORGETOWN COUNTY) NOAA/NOS... 
MAXIMUM TIDE LEVEL 7.01 FT MLLW AT 2130Z 9/13
MAXIMUM SURGE 2.75 FT AT 0236Z 9/14
 
SPRINGMAID PIER SC (MYRTLE BEACH) NOAA/NOS...
MAXIMUM TIDE LEVEL 7.40 FT MLLW AT 2100Z 9/13
MAXIMUM SURGE 2.81 FT AT 2342Z 9/13
 
SUNSET BEACH PIER NC (NC/SC STATE LINE) NOAA/NOS...
MAXIMUM TIDE LEVEL 7.19 FT MLLW AT 2048Z 9/13
MAXIMUM SURGE 2.85 FT AT 2330Z 9/13
 
WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH NC (JOHNNY MERCER PIER) NOAA/NOS...
MAXIMUM TIDE LEVEL 6.60 FT MLLW AT 1954Z
MAXIMUM SURGE 4.19 FT AT 1518Z

Beach Erosion:

SUSTAINED NORTHEAST WIND FOR NEARLY 3 DAYS MAINTAINED WATER LEVELS 
AT LEAST 2 FEET HIGHER THAN NORMAL...AND OCEAN SWELLS CAUSING 6 TO 8 
FOOT SURF AND LITTORAL (LONG SHORE) CURRENTS GOUGED SAND FROM THE 
COAST MOSTLY FROM CAPE FEAR NC NORTH ACROSS NEW HANOVER AND PENDER 
COUNTIES.  EROSION WAS SEVERE LEAVING 5 FOOT ESCARPMENTS ALONG 
SECTIONS OF BEACH FRONT.
 
PENDER COUNTY NC...
SEVERE EROSION AT SURF CITY AND TOPSAIL BEACH WITH 5 DUNE BREACHES 
AND EXTENSIVE PRIMARY DUNE LOSS INTO THE VEGETATION AND 90 PERCENT 
OF OVER DUNE BEACH STAIR ACCESSES WASHED AWAY.
 
NEW HANOVER COUNTY NC...
FIGURE 8 ISLAND...WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH...CAROLINA BEACH AND KURE BEACH 
LOST 25 TO 80 PERCENT OF THE BEACH WITH EROSION INTO THE PRIMARY 
DUNE IN SEVERAL AREAS. SEPTIC TANKS EXPOSED ON FIGURE 8 ISLAND. 
CAROLINA BEACH HAD OVERWASH AT THE NORTH END PIER. 
 
BRUNSWICK COUNTY NC...
THE EAST FACING BEACH OF BALD HEAD ISLAND LOST SAND INTO THE PRIMARY 
DUNE...WITH EROSION ALSO ON THE SOUTH BEACH. ALONG THE REST OF THE 
COUNTY COAST...THE SOUTH FACING BEACHES SUSTAINED MOSTLY MINOR 
EROSION.  THE EAST END OF CASWELL BEACH HAD SOME OVERWASH THAT 
ERODED A ROADWAY. ON THE EAST END OF OCEAN ISLE BEACH LOCALIZED 
EROSION TOOK PART OF EAST SECOND STREET AND AN ALREADY CONDEMNED 
HOME COLLAPSED. 
 
SOUTH CAROLINA BEACHES ALONG HORRY AND GEORGETOWN COUNTIES HAD 
MINOR EROSION.

Tornadoes: NONE.

Storm Effects:

WIDESPREAD POWER OUTAGES IN SE NC...PROGRESS ENERGY REPORTED MORE 
THAN 50,000 CUSTOMERS LOST POWER...MOSTLY RESTORED ACROSS THE AREA 
BY FRIDAY 9/16.
 
PENDER COUNTY NC...
MAINLY TOPSAIL ISLAND AROUND $1.5 MILLION IN MOSTLY MINOR WIND 
DAMAGE TO ABOUT 500 HOMES AT SURF CITY AND TOPSAIL BEACH. SALT WATER 
FLOODING MAINLY ON BACK SIDE OF ISLAND DUE TO SOUND SIDE FLOODING. 
SCATTERED TREES DOWNED AND MOSTLY MINOR FLOODING ON MAINLAND.
 
NEW HANOVER COUNTY NC...
MAINLY BARRIER ISLANDS...AROUND $4.5 MILLION DAMAGE...MAINLY MINOR 
AND WIND RELATED. SALT WATER FLOODING ON THE SOUND SIDE OF CAROLINA 
BEACH AND FRESH WATER FLOODING FROM CAROLINA BEACH LAKE. ON THE 
MAINLAND MOSTLY MINOR FLOODING AND SCATTERED TREES DOWNED.
 
BRUNSWICK COUNTY NC...
EXTENSIVE FRESH WATER FLOODING CLOSED MANY SECONDARY AND A FEW MAJOR 
ROADS EAST OF SHALLOTTE...WITH MOST FLOODING SUBSIDED BY FRIDAY 9/16 
BUT SOME FLOODING EXPECTED TO CONTINUE INTO THE WEEKEND. BALD HEAD 
ISLAND HAD 200 STRUCTURES DAMAGED...MOSTLY MINOR...AND RAINWATER 
FLOODING ISOLATED 15 HOMES. EROSION TO THE EAST AND SOUTH BEACHES. 
MINIMAL WIND DAMAGE TO STRUCTURES AND TREES ON MAINLAND...MOSTLY 
EAST SIDE OF THE COUNTY.
 
HORRY COUNTY SC...
MINOR BEACH EROSION AND A FEW SHINGLES AND SIGNS DAMAGED. A FEW 
TREES DOWNED.
 
GEORGETOWN COUNTY SC...
MINOR FLOODING  MAINLY ON THE SOUND SIDE OF BARRIER ISLANDS.

Deaths or Injuries: NONE REPORTED.

Damage: REPORTS UNAVAILABLE AS OF 9/16/05

 


Radar (base reflectivity) Data from Wilmington, NC (click to enlarge):

9/13 1100 PM EDT Radar Image
9/13 1100 PM EDT Radar Image
9/14 200 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 200 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 800 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 800 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 1100 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 1100 AM EDT Radar Image
9/14 200 PM EDT Radar Image
9/14 200 PM EDT Radar Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

Misc. Information:

 
Wind Speed/Air Pressure at Frying Pan Shoals Buoy

Wind Speed/Air Pressure at Frying Pan Shoals Buoy (41013)

 
Johnnie Mercer Pier Data (Wrightsville Beach, NC)

Johnnie Mercer Pier Data (Wrightsville Beach, NC)

 
pringmaid Pier Data (Myrtle Beach, SC)

Springmaid Pier Data (Myrtle Beach, SC)

 


Other Resources:

Hurricane Ophelia Information from NOAA

Ophelia Satellite Images (NESDIS)

Hurricane Ophelia Aircraft Reconnaissance Flights (NC Emergency Management)

 


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Page Last Modified September 30,  2005
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