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Over 1,000 customers without power after Wednesday’s high winds

About 870 Duke Energy customers in the immediate Charlotte area remained without power as of 5 a.m. Thursday after high winds knocked tree limbs onto power lines late Wednesday afternoon.

Another 400 customers were without power along the Interstate 40 corridor between Statesville and Hickory.

The National Weather Service, meanwhile, has issued a “red flag warning” for the entire Charlotte region, foothills and mountains for fires that could quickly grow out of control due to low humidity, dry fuels and gusty winds Thursday afternoon.

Northwest winds from 10 mph to 15 mph, with gusts up to 25 mph, are expected.

The warning will be in effect from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The circulation around a strong low pressure system moving eastward through the Great Lakes brought gusts of more than 35 mph to the Charlotte area throughout Wednesday afternoon and into the evening.

More than 2,700 Matthews-area customers lost power late Wednesday afternoon, apparently due to a fallen tree limb on wires.

Winter, meanwhile, returned to the Charlotte region overnight as temperatures plummeted to about 30 degrees -- a nearly 45-degree shift from Wednesday’s spring-like afternoon.

A cold front shot temperatures down from Wednesday’s high in the mid-70s, and Thursday afternoon’s high will reach only into the high 40s, according to the latest National Weather Service forecast. It will be sunny, but with wind gusts as high as 22 mph.

Yet March is ever-changing. While temperatures early Friday will once gain drop to about 30, highs will near 60 on Friday afternoon, 63 on Saturday and 60 on Sunday. The next chance for rain is on Sunday and Monday.

Monday’s high will near 52 degrees, while sunny skies should return on Tuesday, with the high near 55.

Marusak: 704-358-5067; Twitter: @jmarusak
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