Cold front, storms will break Charlotte’s heat Tuesday

07/14/2014 3:04 PM

07/15/2014 6:19 AM

The heat and humidity that smothered the Charlotte region Monday will be broken later Tuesday by a fairly strong cold front, meteorologists say.

Instead of highs in the mid-90s, think mid-80s.

The front also is expected to bring strong thunderstorms to the Carolinas before the below-average temperatures arrive for the rest of the week.

At midafternoon Monday, Charlotte and the rest of the Carolinas were experiencing some of the most uncomfortable conditions so far this summer. Charlotte’s official temperature was 93 degrees, and the humidity created a heat index of 97 degrees.

The heat index was 102 degrees in Pageland, S.C., and an oppressive 114 degrees at a weather reporting station in the town of Varnamtown, in Brunswick County near the popular resorts of Ocean Isle Beach, Holden Beach and Sunset Beach.

A few thunderstorms developed early Monday afternoon in the mountains and foothills and were expected to push into the Piedmont by late afternoon and evening, producing strong winds and heavy rain.

But the big show will come Tuesday, as a cold front driven by unseasonably cool air pushes into the region.

“Wind gusts with a few individual storms can be strong enough to knock down trees, damage roofs and cause power outages,” AccuWeather’s Alex Sosnowski said. “As the storms develop and rapidly approach, they can produce lightning strikes with little notice.”

High temperatures Tuesday are expected to reach the lower 90s before the storms arrive.

Clearing is forecast later Tuesday night, setting the stage for cooler weather Wednesday into Friday. Humidity levels will be much lower than Monday, and high temperatures are only expected to reach the mid-80s. The average high for Charlotte at this time of year is 89 degrees.

“The big story for the short term will be temperatures,” said Larry Gabric, meteorologist-in-charge at the National Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C.

Very chilly air for this time of year is predicted to overspread the Great Lakes area. “A modified version of this air will spill into the South,” Sosnowski said.

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