The National Weather Service issued a tornado watch for the Charlotte area from 2 to 9 p.m. Monday.
Mecklenburg and Union counties are under a severe thunderstorm watch until 6:15 p.m. and Iredell County until 6:30 p.m. for Cabarrus, Iredell and Rowan counties.
Shortly after 3:30 p.m., the weather service issued a tornado warning until 4 p.m. for Cleveland County and Cherokee County, S.C., and said a tornado “was likely in progress” on the S.C.-N.C. border south of Boiling Springs, N.C.
A tornado warning was issued until 4:45 p.m. for Lincoln, Cleveland, Catawba, Burke and Rutherford counties and until 5 p.m. for Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties.
The most turbulent period was between 3:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m., forecasters said. That’s when a line of showers was preceding a strong cold front pushing east through the Charlotte region. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall and gusts of wind in the 23 mph range, the National Weather Service said.
A cluster of thunderstorms struck Cleveland and Rutherford counties in North Carolina and Spartanburg and Cherokee counties in South Carolina until 4 p.m.
Forecasters said the worst would come in the afternoon, when a broken line of thunderstorms is expected ahead of the front. All counties surrounding Charlotte are included in a hazardous weather outlook by the National Weather Service.
Some of these thunderstorms will be severe, with isolated tornadoes, damaging winds, and large hail being the primary threats, says the National Weather Service. Heavy rainfall could also lead to isolated flash flooding, especially in urban areas such as Charlotte.
The impact of the coming storms was felt mid afternoon in Watauga County, where wind gusts knocked down trees, blocking multiple roads. Power outages were reported at nearly 1,000 sites Monday afternoon, reported the Watauga Democrat. Watagua County is two hours northwest of Mecklenburg County.
Flash flood warnings are in effect until 9:45 p.m. for Burke, Yancey, Avery and Mitchell counties in the mountains.
Showers and possibly a thunderstorm are also expected before 1 a.m. Tuesday, then a slight chance of showers between 1 and 3 a.m. Some of the storms could produce heavy rainfall. Patchy fog is expected before 9 p.m., with a low around 54. Southwest winds of up to 13 mph are predicted, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80 percent. New rainfall amounts between a quarter and half of an inch are possible.
Patchy fog is forecast for late Monday.