A band of storms that struck Charlotte on Monday afternoon killed a man in upstate South Carolina and produced tornado watches in Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Rowan and Union counties.
The National Weather Service later lifted the warning, but a flood advisory remained until 6 p.m. for uptown and south, central and east Charlotte, as well as Pineville and Harrisburg.
The storms were expected to bring a quick one to two inches of rain and forced a ground stop at Charlotte Douglas International Airport for nearly three hours.
A man died in Union County, S.C., when storms flipped his mobile home several times at about 3:30 p.m., S.C. television stations reported. The home was on Eaves Road near Whitemire Highway.
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Earlier Monday afternoon, the National Weather Service also issued tornado warnings for two dozen counties in western South Carolina until 9 p.m., including York and Chester.
Rock Hill and Chester County schools officials said they were letting students out early Monday. The York, Fort Mill and Clover school districts also canceled after-school events Monday evening. Chester officials began dismissing students shortly after noon, and Rock Hill officials dismissed classes at 2 p.m.
Atlanta media outlets were reporting the storm system had spawned 21 lightning strikes over five minutes in Stanfordville, Ga., in Putnam County. And it prompted tornado warnings in a half dozen counties. The Atlanta Journal Constitution was reporting 8,000 power outages in west Georgia and 3,400 outages in the metro Atlanta area, many due to downed trees.
A ground stop was also called at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for a time.
Two tornadoes were initially reported in the Paulding County area near Atlanta, but officials later said they were mistaken.
A cold front passing through the area is blamed for the instability, which the National Weather Service says brings a slight risk of severe thunderstorms. Areas south of Charlotte closer to Columbia are in a higher category of “enhanced” risk for severe storms.
“A squall line will move through region this afternoon,” reports the National Weather Service. “The primary threats with any severe thunderstorms will be damaging winds, large hail, heavy rainfall, and isolated tornadoes.”
Storms were expected to ease before 9 p.m., giving way to patchy fog. Wind gusts tonight could be as high as 26 mph, says the National Weather Service.