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Storms trigger flooding across Charlotte region; residents, motorists rescued

Flood waters receded Saturday in the wake of powerful thunderstorms that dumped torrential rainfall in parts of the Charlotte area Friday night, triggering flooding that sent rescue crews into high water to help motorists and residents.

The worst of the flooding took place in a corridor stretching from eastern Lincoln County across northern Mecklenburg, southern Cabarrus and Stanly counties.

National Weather Service-monitored rain gauges showed about 5 inches fell in much of that area, but there were unofficial reports of 6 or more inches falling in a period of three to four hours.

At 11:35 a.m., the weather service said the Rocky River has crested and should continue to recede during the afternoon.

Duke Energy reported about 3,000 power outages at noon Saturday, with about 134 of those in Cabarrus County and another 338 in Mecklenburg.

The region has been pummeled on a daily basis by thunderstorms, and some locations have received 8 or more inches of rain in the past week.

The outlook for Saturday is uncertain. Bryan McAvoy, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said some drier air will move into the region for part of the day. But computer models indicate another round of severe storms could develop Saturday evening along and east of Interstate 77.

McAvoy said forecasters considered placing the area under a flash flood watch but are waiting to see if the storms begin developing again later in the day.

Sunshine is predicted to return by mid-morning, and another hot day is expected, with temperatures approaching 90 degrees.

The storms developed Friday evening northwest of Charlotte and moved slowly eastward for several hours before dissipating overnight.

The first flooding reports came from Lincoln County. Fire and rescue personnel in Denver rescued seven people trapped in cars at the Food Lion parking lot on N.C. 16. Water was reported to be 5 feet deep in the lot about 9:30 p.m. A portion of Amity Road in Iron Station crumbled and washed away, leaving some residents stranded, reports WCNC-TV, the Observer’s news partner.

By 10:15 p.m., flooding was being reported in Huntersville and Cornelius.

Several cars stalled in high water on Sam Furr Road at Statesville Road. Responders pulled four people from three cars submerged in rising floodwaters, according to the Huntersville Fire Department. No one was injured.

Huntersville fire personnel also reported four apartment units were flooded by several inches of water a short time later.

Police reported the bridge on Cashion Road near Beatties Ford Road in Huntersville was washed out by flooding about 10:45 p.m.

In Concord, crews rescued a family trapped in their home by rising waters on Farm Branch Road about 10:40 p.m. Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said the city’s firefighters helped crews in Cabarrus County with a number of high-water rescues.

In Kannapolis, authorities reported Afton Run Creek spilled out of its banks about 10:45 p.m. and flooded Dogwood Boulevard.

In a few places, damaging wind gusts were reported. A number of trees and power lines were blown down about 8:50 p.m. along N.C. 27 in Locust, near the Cabarrus County line. And a room was damaged by wind gusts in China Grove, in southern Rowan County. Dan Burley and April Bethea contributed to this report.

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