A line of strong thunderstorms developed Friday afternoon in the North Carolina foothills and meandered slowly toward the Charlotte area.
The storms clobbered the Interstate 40 corridor for several hours Friday afternoon, but by 6:15 p.m. Friday, they were advancing on the immediate Charlotte area.
The National Weather Service said storms with winds of up to 40 mph, pea-sized hail, and heavy rain were possible over the next hour in parts of Lincoln, Gaston, Cleveland and western Mecklenburg counties.
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued earlier in the afternoon for parts of Alexander, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Davie, Iredell and Rowan counties, but those storms moved eastward or weakened by late afternoon.
Meteorologists expect the thunderstorms to continue for the next few hours. The storms have already caused delays for high school football games scheduled tonight. For the latest on high school football game times and weather conditions, follow Langston Wertz Jr.'s Twitter posts.
The Weather Service and emergency management officials reported severe weather in three counties Friday afternoon.
Large hail and tree damage was reported near N.C. 221, north of Rutherfordton, around 4:45 p.m. About an hour earlier, winds blew down a tree on Turnersburg Highway, 3 miles north-northeast of Statesville. And at 2:30 p.m. emergency management officials said, strong winds blew down power lines about 3 miles northeast of Lenoir in Caldwell County.