Cold front to bring severe storms, tornado threat to Charlotte area overnight

Folks crossing Charlottetowne Ave. at Metrolina Ave. Wednesday afternoon.
Folks crossing Charlottetowne Ave. at Metrolina Ave. Wednesday afternoon. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

Severe storms, including the possibility for isolated tornadoes, are expected in Charlotte and the surrounding area overnight, according to the National Weather Service.

Two separate systems were expected to hit the area Wednesday. The first, caused by a warm front, brought isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

The second system is expected to bring a stronger round of thunderstorms to the region in the evening, ahead of an approaching cold front, the National Weather Service said. The weather service warned the second line of storms could potentially generate large hail and damaging winds. An isolated tornado is possible as well.

The threat of thunderstorms and strong winds for the Charlotte metro area looms from 2 to 4 a.m. Thursday, NWS meteorologist Andrew Kimball said shortly before 10 p.m. Wednesday, while the tornado threat was decreasing.

By mid-afternoon Wednesday, tornado watches were in effect until 8 p.m. for large portions of South Carolina, including central, south and northeast South Carolina. A tornado touched down in rural southwest Georgia, toppling trees and power lines, The Associated Press reported.

Storms cut short the final afternoon of practice at Augusta National before the tournament’s start. Fans were ordered to leave the course.

The National Weather Service enacted a tornado warning at 3:02 p.m. for southeastern Richland County, S.C.. The system had also led to tornado watches throughout most of Georgia.

Flash flooding also was a concern in the afternoon’s line of storms. The weather service issued a flood advisory for six S.C. counties at 2:30 p.m., including Newberry, Edgefield, Lexington, and Aiken counties. A flash flood warning was issued for northeastern Lexington County and central Richland County at 2:30 as well.

The threat follows severe storms that hit the region on Monday, causing six tornadoes in South Carolina. One man died in upstate South Carolina after an EF-1 tornado struck his home in Union County.

Following Wednesday’s storms, gusty winds are expected Thursday as the cold front passes. The National Weather Service warned winds Thursday night may be strong enough to down power lines and trees.

LaVendrick Smth; 704-358-5101; @LaVendrickS