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Charlotte flood threat returns Saturday

After getting a one-day break from the wettest summer weather in years, the Charlotte area is back in the bad weather bulls eye again Saturday.

The National Weather Service has placed Mecklenburg and most nearby counties under a flash flood watch until Sunday morning, as the remnants of Tropical Storm Chantal combine with other conditions to bring an increased storm threat.

Residents of Polk and Burke counties in the N.C. foothills might argue the threat never left, as they were hit by flash flooding Friday night. The Clemson, S.C., area also suffered a flash flood outbreak.

Heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected to push westward during the day, after hammering the eastern Carolinas on Friday. Meteorologists say that with the ground saturated from about a foot of rain since early June, it won’t take much to trigger flooding Saturday.

The showers and storms are expected to reach their peak from Saturday afternoon until early Sunday.

Storms are predicted to remain in the area Sunday, but they will be less-concentrated, say forecasters. And a return to more typical summer weather – sun and low 90s – is forecast for next week.

Parts of northwest Charlotte were hit by a significant flash flooding event Thursday. More than 4 inches of rain fell in a few hours, sending Stewart and other creeks out of their banks. Water levels remain high Saturday morning.

Friday night’s flooding washed out several roads south of Morganton and west of Glen Alpine in Burke County. The N.C. Highway Patrol reported that U.S. 70 is closed west of Morganton on Saturday because of flood damage. The closure is between Kathy Road and Sam Mull Road. Also closed is N.C. 90 north of Lenoir.

Several roads also were washed out in Polk County, along the N.C.-S.C. border west of Hendersonville. And in the Clemson area, emergency personnel had to rescue several people who were stranded in cars by fast-rising waters.

Meteorologists say 2 to 4 inches of rain could fall in short periods of time Saturday across the Charlotte region.

“Conditions are the most favorable for more flash flooding than we have seen in recent memory,” said Pat Moore, of the Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C.

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