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Storm threat passes, with little damage in Charlotte area

A line of storms responsible for severe weather Thursday across parts of the South pushed east of Charlotte before daybreak Friday, ending the threat to the area.

The storms produced vivid lightning and briefly heavy rain overnight but caused little damage.

A notable exception was at the Abbey Place Apartments in south Charlotte, where a tree fell on a building late Thursday night. There were no injuries.

Wind damage was minimal in the region, apparently limited to portions of Catawba and Iredell counties.

A tornado watch which had been issued for Mecklenburg and nearby counties has expired. Another watch had been posted for counties east of Charlotte, but those counties also have been removed from the watch.

The thunderstorms formed ahead of the cold front, which is expected to cross the Charlotte region this morning. A few showers, some of them briefly heavy, are falling across the area.

In Charlotte, thunderstorm damage apparently was limited to the fallen tree at the apartment building.

“The tree fell shortly before 10 p.m.,” Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said.

Residents said they heard a loud crashing sound when the tree landed on a building in the 1300 block of Abbey Place.

“The loud crash -- that was all we heard,” one woman said Friday morning as she stood outside the apartments, off Woodlawn Road near Park Road. She said authorities told residents late Thursday night that a wind gust and a root system weakened by rain probably caused the tree to tumble.

About 20 residents were forced from their homes, but most of them are expected to be permitted back inside Friday. The residents of one unit -- two adults and a child -- were displaced, however.

A crew arrived at the building about 8 a.m. Friday, planning to cut apart the tree and cut down a nearby tree that was damaged.

Jennifer Franklin of the American Red Cross said her organization provided support to residents and to emergency crews who responded Thursday night.

Otherwise, the storm’s main impact on the immediate Charlotte area was to wash away the coat of pollen that had settled on everything this week.

Rainfall totals were generally a half-inch or less.

A bit more damage was reported to the north. A first cluster of thunderstorms that moved through the region late Thursday night -- the same storms responsible for the damage on Abbey Place -- also downed trees in Catawba and Iredell counties.

Emergency management officials reported trees downed near Maiden, and about 6 miles west of Statesville near Old Mountain Road and U.S. 70. Both of those reports came about 10 p.m.

Duke Energy reported only a few thousand power outages Friday morning. The highest number -- nearly 1,000 -- was in Iredell County.

A small stream flood warning was issued until about 8:45 a.m. for northwest Watauga County. The National Weather Service says about 2 inches of rain fell in that area, causing the Watauga River to flood near Sugar Grove.

Forecasters say a few additional showers are possible Friday morning, but skies will clear in the afternoon. Breezy conditions are expected, and temperatures will climb into the upper 70s.

A nice weekend is forecast, with afternoon highs in the low and middle 70s and morning lows in the mid and upper 40s.

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