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Charlotte region escapes brunt of Andrea’s flooding

Tropical Storm Andrea moved rapidly northward across the Carolinas coastal plain Friday, carrying the threat of flooding rain away from the Charlotte region.

The last band of heavy rain directly associated with the first tropical storm of the season swept across Anson, Stanly and Union counties shortly before noon, dumping up to 1 inch of rain in those areas. But by early afternoon Friday, the rain bands were pulling away to the Northeast.

Flooding rains, which had been forecast for the Charlotte region, instead fell Friday across the eastern half of the Carolinas.

A flash flood watch remained in effect for all counties in the Charlotte area except Lancaster and Chesterfield in South Carolina, but forecasters say it appears as if the flooding threat for the region was coming to an end.

At the coast, Andrea was causing gusty winds and heavy rain, and a tropical storm warning remained in effect from Charleston north to the Virginia shore. Shortly before 3 p.m., winds were gusting to between 40 and 45 mph along the coast.

A tornado watch was in effect for the eastern third of North Carolina. The center of the tropical storm was racing northeastward Friday morning in the Carolinas coastal plain and was near Fayetteville at 2 p.m.

There also were numerous flash flood warnings east of Interstate 95, where heavy rain continued falling early Friday afternoon.

Much of the Charlotte area received between 1 and 2 inches of rain from the storm, but most of that fell Thursday afternoon and evening. Meteorologists had predicted another 1 to 2 inches early Friday.

North Carolina transportation officials temporarily suspended service on the Bayview-Aurora ferry Friday morning because of high winds. But service was restored a few hours later. The winds were gusting to near 50 mph in northeastern North Carolina.

Emergency management officials and the National Weather Service reported flooding in Dunn, in Harnett County between Raleigh and Fayetteville. More than 2 feet of water covered U.S. 301 in Wilson at midday Friday. There also were several reports of tornadoes Friday morning in the eastern third of North Carolina. One funnel cloud was spotted about 9 a.m. at the Goldsboro Airport. More than 5 inches of rain had fallen since midnight in Brunswick County.

Earlier Friday, as the center of Andrea passed the Charleston area, wind gusts blew down trees and power lines at Isle of Palms.

In North Myrtle Beach, rescue crews searched Friday for a surfer reported missing near 42nd Avenue North in Cherry Grove.

North Myrtle Beach spokesman Pat Dowling said the 19-year-old surfer had entered the water with his brother Friday. His board had washed ashore, but the teen had not been found.

In the Charlotte region, the biggest problem Friday morning was a downed tree and power lines that blocked a portion of N.C. 73 in Cabarrus County for several hours.

The worst flooding for Charlotte came Thursday evening. Sharon Foote, of Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services, reported that Mallard Creek rose 1 foot over flood stage at 7 o’clock, near North Tryon Street. Briar Creek reached flood stage about 5 p.m. Thursday at Shamrock Drive.

Little Sugar Creek climbed several feet above the greenway near Kings Drive, but Foote said the creek was not at flood stage. She said heavy rain in the creek’s head waters in the Hidden Valley area was responsible for the creek’s high waters downstream near Freedom Park.

The bad weather forced postponement of two outdoor events scheduled Friday evening – a Charlotte Symphony pops concert in Matthews, and dedication of Tarte Field in Cornelius.

Steve Lyttle: 704-358-6107.
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