Tropical Storm Ophelia makes landfall in North Carolina as it moves up east coast

<span>Photograph: Kendall Warner/AP</span>
Photograph: Kendall Warner/AP

Tropical Storm Ophelia made landfall on the coast of North Carolina near Emerald Isle early on Saturday as the storm moved north along the US east coast.

Before the storm’s landfall, the governors of Virginia, North Carolina and Maryland declared states of emergency. Ophelia was predicted to bring heavy rainfall, tropical storm force winds and minor flooding along the states’ coasts through the weekend.

Forecasters warned of heavy rainfall of up to 7in in parts of North Carolina and Virginia as well as 2-4in of rainfall throughout the mid-Atlantic region over the weekend because of Ophelia.

There was a tropical storm warning put into place from Cape Fear, North Carolina, to Fenwick Island, Delaware.

About 70,000 homes and businesses experienced power outages in North Carolina and Virginia as the storm made landfall.

The Major League Baseball game on Saturday pitting the host Washington Nationals against the visiting Atlanta Braves was postponed until Sunday because of the storm.

According to the National Hurricane Center (NHC), the storm was packing maximum sustained winds of 65mph as of 8am Saturday.

The storm is expected to gradually weaken as it travels north along the US east coast, reaching Maryland by Sunday.