A strong low pressure system moved from the Southeast into the Mid-Atlantic on Tuesday evening, taking with it the stormy weather that produced flooding and scattered wind damage in the Carolinas.
All watches and warnings were dropped by 6 p.m. Tuesday, after a day when a half-foot of rain fell in some mountain locations and round after round of showers and thunderstorms pounded the Piedmont.
When it was all done, the damage was mostly limited to the mountains, where emergency management officials reported floodwater receding shortly before sunset.
National Weather Service meteorologist Rodney Hinson said the threat of severe weather is finished in the Carolinas. Severe storms were pounding New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey at sunset Tuesday.
In its wake, forecasters promise, will be several nice days in the Charlotte region, with partly sunny skies and daytime highs in the upper 70s.
The eastern half of North Carolina was under a tornado watch for much of Tuesday afternoon, with meteorologists saying the atmosphere was primed for the development of severe weather. But only a few scattered storm damage reports were received.
In the Charlotte area, officials in Cabarrus County reported a large limb took down power lines south of Concord. And wind damage from storms Tuesday morning knocked out power to about 2,000 Union County customers for a few hours.
A cluster of heavy showers and storms moved across Charlotte during the morning commute, causing dozens of wrecks. The biggest of those was a multivehicle collision on southbound Interstate 77. Traffic was snarled for about 5 miles during most of the morning commute.
Rainfall totals varied widely, with a little more than a half-inch falling at Charlotte-Douglas International Airport and across much of Mecklenburg County. Yet nearly 2 inches fell in Huntersville and Cornelius, and more than 3 inches was recorded in eastern Lincoln County.
The big rainfall, however, came in the mountains.
Radar and automated gauges indicate 4 inches or more of rain fell in parts of Watauga, Avery, Ashe, Alleghany and Mitchell counties. Sheriff’s offices in those counties reported a number of roads flooded and impassable for much of the day. Between 3 and 5 inches fell in parts of Caldwell and Burke counties, where there also were some reports of flooded roads.
Boone was hard-hit, with about 6 inches of rain reported. A creek overflowed and flooded the Boone Mall parking lot, and a portion of the parking lot at a printing company on U.S. 321 in Boone caved in. Schools in Avery and Yancey counties dismissed early so buses could get students home before flooding worsened.
In the foothills, thunderstorms Tuesday morning knocked down trees across Burke County. Storm damage forced authorities to close a portion of U.S. 64 south of Morganton for several hours.