Weather service team to see if tornado struck south Charlotte

Storm damage in south Charlotte.
Storm damage in south Charlotte. Bryan Richards

The National Weather Service expects to determine Thursday if a tornado touched down in south Charlotte Wednesday night.

Experts with the service will be in the area Thursday to survey the damage to look at whether a tornado struck the area, and such assessments typically are made the same day, said Patrick Moore, a meteorologist with the weather service in Greer, S.C.

“We can usually tell right away,” Moore added.

Weather service officials also will survey damage around Simpsonville in Greenville County, S.C. They also will be in York County Thursday morning before heading to Charlotte by around noon.

More than 1,400 homes were without power in the Charlotte area overnight, reported WBTV, the Observer’s news partner. But as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday, nearly all had power restored, according to the Duke Power outage map.

Photos and videos posted online showed damage to the Microsoft complex on Arrowood Road. One woman in the Ayrsley neighborhood told WBTV the storm was like watching “The Wizard of Oz.”

Greg Steele said he was driving on Westinghouse Boulevard around 6:20 p.m. when he was forced to stop driving. His car was pushed about five feet sideways over a span of 30 seconds because of the winds. “Tons of chaos around and hard to put into words,” he said in an email, adding he believes he was caught in a hurricane.

Medic reported treating one person for potentially life-threatening injuries after a tractor-trailer rolled over in the 2300 block of Westinghouse Boulevard in south Charlotte during the storm. Medic took the person to Carolinas Medical Center for treatment.

In general, tornadoes are rare anywhere in the Carolinas, Moore said. But severe weather events can occur in late autumn when strong cold fronts move through the Carolinas.

In late December 2015, the weather service confirmed that a tornado had touched down just south of Monroe.

If your area is under a tornado warning, then you may only have a few minutes to get to safety. Here are the actions you should take during a tornado.

Staff writer Joe Marusak contributed

Adam Bell: 704-358-5696, @abell