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Severe thunderstorm watch for S.C.

Now it's South Carolina's turn for stormy weather.

A severe thunderstorm watch that had been in effect for Mecklenburg and surrounding N.C. counties since noon has been canceled, as most of the heavy storms have moved south of the Carolinas border.

Severe storms that developed this afternoon largely missed Mecklenburg County.

But the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., has issued a new severe thunderstorm watch for much of South Carolina, including York, Chester, Cherokee, Lancaster and Chesterfield counties near Charlotte. That watch is in effect until 1 a.m.

It looks as if the South Carolina counties near Charlotte will face the biggest problems until about 10 p.m. tonight. A line of heavy to severe storms stretches at 8:30 p.m. from near Gaffney to east of Chesterfield. Severe thunderstorm warnings have been issued off and on this evening for York, Chester, Lancaster and Chesterfield counties.

A flash flood warning that had been issued for Anson County has been canceled, as a slow-moving thunderstorm responsible for up to 5 inches of rain since 6 p.m. has moved into South Carolina.

The Anson County Sheriff's Office earlier closed U.S. 74 through much of the county due to flooding. The road is expected to be open again shortly.

Earlier today, storms produced large hail and damging wind gusts across the area.

Some of the damage reports:

Anson County: Very heavy rain fell along the U.S. 74 corridor from Wadesboro to the Richmond County line. No evacuations were necessary, however.

Earlier, about 6:15 p.m., strong thunderstorm winds blew down trees and power lines in Ansonville, north of Wadesboro, and in Wadesboro itself.

Alexander County: Hail was reported across the county earlier this afternoon.

Cleveland County: Trees were blown down about 4 p.m. in storms near Shelby.

Iredell County: A storm during the mid-afternoon hours produced hail in Mooresville, Troutman and Barium Springs, in the southern part of the county.

Union County: Perhaps the biggest hail locally was in southwest Union County. Spotters reported hail of 1 3/4 inches in diameter -- nearly golf ball-size -- about 9 miles southwest of Monroe. Smaller hail was reported about 6 miles south of Monroe.

Lancaster County, S.C.: Strong storms early this evening blew down power lines, mainly from Lancaster eastward into Chesterfield County. At 8:30 p.m., Duke Energy reported nearly 2,000 customers without power.

Chester County, S.C.: A severe thunderstorm about 8 p.m. blew down a number of trees in the western part of the county.

Cherokee County, S.C.: Winds blew the roof off a building near Gaffney.

Major storm damage also was reported in the Greenville-Spartanburg area.

Conditions fueling the development of the storms are typical -- heat, high humidity, and a weak approaching cold front. Temperatures are forecast to climb into the upper 90s today, and dewpoint temperatures (a measure of humidity) are in the mid to upper 60s, which is quite high.

Forecasters at the Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., said the biggest threat from tonight's storms in South Carolina will be damaging wind gusts of 80 mph or stronger. But hail of 1 1/2 inches in diameter also is possible.

It should be a bit cooler Sunday. The forecast is mostly sunny with a high near 92.