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A slight break from storms, but more on the way

Storm-weary Carolinas residents will get a few days of nearly-typical summer weather early this week, but meteorologists say thunderstorms remain in the forecast.

And, they add, another round of widespread heavy rain is possible later in the week.

Forecasters say shower and thunderstorm activity Monday and Tuesday will be more scattered than in recent days, but an area from central Gaston County eastward across Mecklenburg and Cabarrus counties was hit with storms at midday Monday. The National Weather Service said winds of up to 40 mph and small hail were possible in some of the storms.

With most of the western Carolinas having received two to three times the normal amount of rainfall since early June, rivers and lakes continue to run near flood stage. Three people were killed over the weekend on rain-swollen rivers in the region.

One of those deaths involved a man whose boat hit a submerged log in South Carolina. Officials at Duke Energy, which manages water levels on Catawba River reservoirs, are warning boaters to be careful about submerged objects in lakes and rivers in the wake of recent heavy rains and flooding.

The good news is that water levels on Mountain Island Lake in northwest Mecklenburg and eastern Gaston counties appear to have stabilized. The National Weather Service said the 7 a.m. reading from the lake was 1/3 of a foot above flood stage. Flood stage is 2 feet above full level, but there are no reports of residential flooding Monday morning in lakeside areas.

The level at Mountain Island Lake has remained generally steady since reaching a peak Saturday evening of 2.5 feet above full level.

Levels on two other flood-prone reservoirs along the Catawba River chain – Lookout Shoals Lake near Hickory and Lake Wateree near Camden and Great Falls, S.C. – also are near or above full pond. But officials at Duke Energy and the National Weather Service say no serious additional flooding is expected at either lake.

Rain has fallen in or near Charlotte for 15 consecutive days, and the Weather Service sees no let-up in sight.

“But the next couple of days will be a bit drier, hopefully,” said Bryan McAvoy, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. “Coverage will tend to be decreased somewhat over recent days.”

However, he added, “Any storms that form will be slow-moving and capable of producing large amounts of rain.”

That is because the atmosphere over the Carolinas and much of the Southeast remains saturated.

Thunderstorm activity Monday and Tuesday likely will be focused mostly in the late-afternoon and evening hours. Before that happens, temperatures in the mid to upper 80s and high humidity levels are expected.

Meteorologists are concerned about a possible trend later in the week. They say an upper-level low pressure system could develop somewhere in the vicinity of the Carolinas. That would happen between Wednesday and Friday.

“If that happens, we’re possibly looking at another period of widespread shower and thunderstorm activity,” McAvoy said.

With the ground saturated across the region, more additional heavy rain likely would trigger additional flooding.

Nearly two dozen roads in the Charlotte region remain closed this week after being flooded over the past 10 days. The N.C. Department of Transportation reports washed-out roads in Mecklenburg, Anson, Cabarrus, Caldwell and Stanly counties.

High water is blamed for three deaths over the weekend – one Friday and two Saturday.

On Friday, 36-year-old Richard Bradfield of Lexington, Ky., drowned in a kayaking accident on the rain-swollen Big East Ford of Pigeon River. The incident happened in the Haywood County portion of Pisgah National Forest. Authorities say Bradfield’s body was recovered Saturday.

In Rowan County, 45-year-old Steven Tanksley of Salisbury drowned Saturday in the South Yadkin River near Cooleemee Falls. Several other people were rescued from the river earlier in the day.

And on the Wateree River north of Camden, S.C., a 44-year-old man was killed Saturday night when his boat hit a log and sank. The victim’s name has not been released.

Lyttle: 704-358-6107. Twitter: @slyttle
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