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Storm threat goes on, for 1-2 days

An area of showers and thunderstorms was moving northward toward the Charlotte area early Wednesday afternoon, and forecasters said the storms will carry the threat of downpours that could cause flash flooding.

There also is a small threat of severe weather across the region for the rest of the day.

The threat of heavy showers and thunderstorms will continue through the Independence Day holiday.

But forecasters see improvement ahead, saying the stormy weather will be scattered enough -- beginning Thursday -- to allow for some holiday outdoor activities.

People planning to attend any of the big holiday fireworks shows Wednesday night across the area should be aware that the weather might intervene, forecasters say.

“There could be storms at any time,” said Anna Goodman, of the National Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C. “And any of them could contain heavy rain.”

By early Wednesday afternoon, National Weather Service meteorologists said they were watching two areas of showers and storms -- one in South Carolina that was pushing north toward the Charlotte area, and another in northern Georgia that could affect the North Carolina mountains.

Rainfall was rather light across the region Tuesday, with most of the heavier precipitation falling in the eastern half of North Carolina. An exception to that was in Caldwell County, where more than 6 inches of rain was reported near the town of Patterson. Lenoir got 3.25 inches. There also were 2-inch rainfall reports from parts of Iredell County.

But despite the relatively small amounts of rain Tuesday, the ground is waterlogged. Some parts of the Charlotte area received more than 5 inches of rain Friday night and again Sunday evening. Those downpours triggered flash flooding that closed more than a dozen roads in the Charlotte region.

No injuries have been reported so far in the flooding, and Charlotte fire Capt. Rob Brisley said he thinks area residents have been heeding warnings from authorities.

“We’re fortunate,” Brisley said. “I think people are listening. We’ve been telling them, ‘Turn around, don’t drown.’ People realize these storms can cause problems in a real hurry.”

From 1 to 3 inches of rain is expected Wednesday, with 4 inches or more falling in the heavier storms.

The National Weather Service said an atmospheric disturbance is expected to cross the region during the afternoon and evening, serving as an extra trigger for thunderstorm activity.

A change in the pattern will start taking hold Thursday. High pressure near Bermuda is forecast to strengthen, gradually pushing the rainy weather to the west. By July 4, more sunshine and fewer storms is expected for the Carolinas beaches and coastal plain. In fact, the National Weather Service office in Raleigh said the dry air already was pushing inland from the coast Wednesday morning.

Thunderstorm activity also might become a bit more scattered Thursday afternoon and evening in the Charlotte region, although the mountains are predicted to remain quite wet.

A trend toward drier and hotter weather is predicted for the weekend.

High temperatures Wednesday are not expected to climb out of the upper 70s, although low 80s are forecast for the holiday.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107 Twitter: @slyttle
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