Wrecks on the rise as weather service issues flood watch for Charlotte area

Heavy rains in the Charlotte region have triggered a flurry of car accidents and have prompted the National Weather Service to issue a flood watch.

The Mecklenburg and its nearby counties, including the South Carolina counties of York and Chester, are under the flood watch through Monday evening.

Heavy showers and thunderstorms are expected to continue, bringing two to four inches of additional rainfall. Totals in some areas near Interstate 77 could near 6 inches for the entire storm, the weather service said.

The rains have made driving more treacherous.

From midnight to 2 p.m. Sunday, the state Highway Patrol reported 96 collisions in the district that covers Mecklenburg and eight other central North Carolina counties. That’s about two to three times as many as usual, according to Highway Patrol Sgt. Derek Heintz.

“There’s a lot of construction in Charlotte, so the water doesn’t run off the road the way it should,” Heintz said.

Among the crashes that appear to be weather-related: A street-sweeping truck ran off I-77 into trees early Sunday morning, killing two Charlotte men. The victims were found inside the wrecked truck on the shoulder of I-77 southbound, near Sunset Road.

The rains also prompted Carowinds and the Charlotte Knights baseball team to change their schedules.

Carowinds announced on Twitter that it was closing at 1 p.m. Sunday due to the weather.

The Knights, meanwhile, had been scheduled to host the Rochester Red Wings Sunday afternoon. The two teams will make up the game in Rochester, NY on a date to be determined.

Area residents can also expect to see creeks rise.

“The long duration and widespread nature of the heavy rain threat is expected to result in significant rises and potential flooding on area streams,” the weather service wrote in its forecast.

It will be cloudy and cool Sunday and Monday, with temperatures in the 50s.

Ames Alexander: 704-358-5060, @amesalex