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Severe storms move into Charlotte area

Two lines of powerful thunderstorms moved through the Charlotte area Friday, downing trees and knocking out power to thousands of customers.

A tornado watch was in effect for much of the evening. A number of surrounding counties were under severe thunderstorm warnings.

The first line of storms crossed the region between 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The worst damage appeared to be in Iredell County from one cluster of storms, and in Union and Cabarrus counties from another cluster.

Duke Energy reported at 5 p.m. more than 20,000 customers without power. Most of those were in the Winston-Salem area, but there were more than 3,300 outages in Iredell County and nearly 1,000 in Gaston County. By 8 p.m., power had been returned to nearly 1,500 homes in Iredell County and all but roughly 150 homes in Gaston County.

By 7 p.m., the heaviest thunderstorms had passed through Charlotte.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police say a large tree fell about 2:30 p.m. in the 1500 block of Pecan Avenue, which is two blocks north of Central Avenue. That happened before storms arrived in Charlotte, but gusty southerly winds were blowing at the time.

Brad Rice said he arrived at his Shamrock Drive home in northeast Charlotte around 5:30 p.m. to find that a 100-year-old oak tree had split in two. Rice said the largest portion of the tree fell into the street, blocking it, and the other portion clipped his roof and fell on the Toyota Corolla parked in his driveway.

Around 8 p.m., Rice said city workers were trying to clear at least one lane of the street. He was planning to stay someplace else Friday night until his power could be restored.

In Iredell County, a strong thunderstorm hit about 3:30 p.m. Wind knocked down a tree on U.S. 70 at Old Mountain Road west of Statesville and more trees on Bethesda Road about 6 miles east of Statesville.

There also were reports of numerous trees blown down around 4:15 p.m. when a storm crossed the Indian Trail area of western Union County. That same storm was responsible for blowing down power lines on U.S. 29 in Concord.

The storms moved in advance of a strong cold front that is expected to drop temperatures to below-average levels for the weekend and much of next week.

Saturday’s high temperature, despite full sunshine, is expected to reach the mid-60s – which is about the same as Friday morning’s low temperatures in Charlotte.

More cool weather is predicted for next week, including a potentially raw and chilly day on Monday.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107
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