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More drenching storms possible Thursday

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Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
Sugar Creek has over flowed its banks at the Little Sugar Creek Greenway in Uptown.

Drenching thunderstorms could play a role again Thursday in the Charlotte area’s weather, meteorologists say.

In the wake of storms that dumped more than 3 inches of rain near uptown and caused flash flooding Wednesday evening, forecasters say conditions will be very similar across the region Thursday afternoon and evening.

Several lines of thunderstorms formed late Wednesday afternoon in South Carolina along the edge of a sea breeze pushed inland from the Carolinas coast. Those storms slowly moved northward into the Charlotte region and strengthened in a hot, humid air mass that had produced a 93-degree high temperature earlier in the day.

The heaviest rain fell near uptown. A gauge at a wastewater treatment plant off Beatties Ford Road in northwest Charlotte measured 3.77 inches of rain, and amounts between 2.9 and 3 inches were recorded at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center uptown, Fire Station 15 near Eastway and Shamrock drives, and at Reedy Creek Park in northeast Charlotte.

Around 7 p.m., several creeks near uptown roared out of their banks.

Little Sugar Creek flooded the greenway near CPCC’s Central Campus, and officials closed Freedom Park when the same creek topped its banks there.

Charlotte firefighters received more than two dozen calls for assistance, most of them from motorists trapped by rising waters. Crews rescued a mother and her 5-year-old son after their car encountered high water at Ninth and Caldwell streets in uptown’s First Ward area.

Cars also were flooded along North Tryon Street, just north of uptown.

Meanwhile, less than 1/10 inch of rain was reported at McKee Road Elementary School in southeast Charlotte.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rodney Hinson said slow-moving thunderstorms are likely again Thursday, but he said it is very difficult to predict where the storms will develop. With more clouds around than Wednesday, high temperatures are only expected to hit the upper 80s.

Storm chances will drop a bit Friday, so temperatures are predicted to be near 90 again.

By Saturday, a strong cold front is forecast to approach the Carolinas, and thunderstorm chances will increase in the afternoon and evening. The showers and storms are expected to continue through Sunday and into early Monday. Cooler air will follow, with a predicted high on Monday of only 78 degrees.

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