Severe weather brings hail, heavy rain and winds to Charlotte area

The National Weather Service issued a series of watches and warnings Wednesday for North Carolina and South Carolina in advance of a system forecast that brought severe weather to the two states.
 
A tornado watch was posted Wednesday afternoon for Cherokee and Clay counties in western North Carolina until 7 p.m. A severe thunderstorm watch was in effect until 10 p.m. for 49 counties west of Interstate 95.
 
In South Carolina, a severe thunderstorm watch was posted for 14 counties in the Upstate of South Carolina and is in effect until 10 p.m.
 
A spring-like storm system spawned tornadoes that destroyed more than 100 homes and killed three people in the central U.S. before it rumbled toward the East Coast on Wednesday.

Severe WX

TIMELINE

Mountains (Avery, Ashe, Watauga) - 2-4 pm

Foothills (Burke Caldwell) - 4-6 pm

Piedmont (Cleveland, Gaston, Lincoln, Catawba, Iredelle, Mecklenberg, Rowan, Stanley, Cabarrus, York) 7-10 pm

Sandhills (Chester, Lancaster, Union, Anson, Richmond, Chesterfield) 10-midnight

WHAT WE CAN EXPECT

This will be a squall line that will move through communities quickly. Heavy rain will start to fall, taper off and completely stop within the matter of an hour. 

The mountain counties will get hit the hardest. The Storm Prediction Center has placed those counties under an enhanced risk for severe weather. An enhanced risk means the potential for tornadoes, frequent lightning, winds possibly in excess of 70 mph and hail with a diameter between 1-2 inches. National Weather Forecasters are confident that there will be widespread storms that are capable of causing significant damage or even cause fatalities. 

Severe WX2

The rest of the viewing area is under a slight risk. A slight risk means severe storms are expected but in relatively small numbers/coverage. Winds of up to 58 mph and hail around 1 inch in diameter are possible. 

Rainfall totals between .25-.5" are expected with locally higher amounts in the mountain communities. Puddling and ponding will be expected but flooding will likely not occur because of the quick moving nature of this system. 

A severe thunderstorm watch will likely be issued for parts or all of the viewing area later today. A watch means conditions are favorable for severe weather and a warning means severe weather is imminent. As the storms roll through the area severe thunderstorm warnings will likely be issued within the watch area. 

This event will be completely east of the viewing area by 2 am and tomorrow will be sunny but cooler. Chilly air from the northwest will move in and stick around through Saturday. Temperatures on Thursday morning will be 15-20 cooler than the Wednesday morning readings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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