Tropical Storm Ophelia begins drenching East Coast: Major cities in path; flooding risks

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on Saturday morning near Emerald Isle, North Carolina, as forecasters warn the storm will bring impacts to major cities including Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia and New York City.

On Saturday morning, Ophelia had maximum sustained winds of 70 mph and some coastal towns were experiencing several inches of floodwaters. 📷

The governors of North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland declared states of emergency Friday. Some schools closed early as communities prepared for the storm’s arrival, and several weekend events were canceled.

Near where Ophelia made landfall, residents in Morehead City, North Carolina, were told to shelter against "life-threatening" storm surge, the National Weather Service said Saturday.

Ophelia is predicted to move over land as it tracks north, passing over Virginia, Washington, D.C., Maryland, Delaware, southern New Jersey and southeastern Pennsylvania. But the storm's impacts will stretch further, with rain forecast as far north as Massachusetts.

AccuWeather forecasters said Saturday Ophelia will lose wind intensity as it travels over land Saturday and Sunday, but the potential for flooding and storm surge will be high in some areas. The storm

is expected to exit off the coast of New Jersey and return to the Atlantic Ocean by Monday morning, AccuWeather reported.

Because the storm is expected to travel over so much land, its impacts across multiple states "will be much more significant when compared to Hurricane Lee which passed offshore last week," AccuWeather reported.