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Press Release | Sept. 22, 2023

Coast Guard urges caution as tropical storm impacts Delaware Bay region

PHILADELPHIA – The Coast Guard urges the maritime public to exercise caution as the Delaware Bay region is impacted by Tropical Storm Ophelia Friday-Sunday.

In anticipation of the heavy weather, the captain of the port for Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay set port condition modified Whiskey Friday due to expected gale-force winds within 24 hours.

Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay personnel are closely monitoring the weather. If forecasted predictions change, the captain of the port will evaluate if port condition restrictions are necessary.  

Gale force winds are expected to arrive in the Philadelphia area Friday evening and remain through Sunday morning. Sustained northeast winds between 40 and 50 mph are anticipated in the area, resulting in hazardous marine conditions.

Up to 10 to 15-foot seas offshore are expected Friday night through Sunday morning.

These conditions create life-threatening beach hazards, including dangerous rip currents and large battering waves.

“Tropical storm Ophelia will create dangerous conditions,” said Capt. Kate Higgins-Bloom, commander of Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay. “Even the most experienced mariner can be overwhelmed. Think twice before you go out on the water. Monitor trusted weather sources, know your limits, and plan for emergencies.”

In preparation for the impending weather, the Coast Guard recommends the following safety and preparedness tips:

Stay off the water: High surf and strong rip currents will occur as the storm passes; head warnings by local lifeguards, law enforcement officials, and NOAA.

Secure belongings: Boat owners should verify moorings, secure loose equipment, and store trailer-able boats (including kayaks, canoes, and stand-up paddle craft) in a place not susceptible to flooding.  

Stay informed: Boaters can monitor its progress on VHF radio channel 16. The public should monitor the storm through local television, radio, and Internet. 

For the latest forecast advisories and weather updates for Tropical Storm Ophelia visit: National Hurricane Center (