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Flood warnings for Charlotte after NC mountains hit with record deluge

Simon Rusen-Morohovich, 19, of Pittsburgh, Pa., skim boards as storm clouds move in over Hollywood Beach, Fla., Monday, May 14, 2018.
Simon Rusen-Morohovich, 19, of Pittsburgh, Pa., skim boards as storm clouds move in over Hollywood Beach, Fla., Monday, May 14, 2018. South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP

Parts of the Charlotte area faced flooding late Wednesday and early Thursday, after the N.C. mountains were hit with a record deluge.

A record 2.76 inches fell in Asheville on Wednesday, breaking the city's previous mark of 0.79 inches set in 1913, according to the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C.

A rain gauge in Hendersonville, south of Asheville, recorded 6 1/2 inches falling over 24 hours since Tuesday, NWS meteorologist Doug Outlaw said.

Numerous showers and thunderstorms were expected across the Charlotte region and N.C. mountains through early Thursday, according to a hazardous weather outlook bulletin by the NWS shortly before 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

"Slow-moving and training storms may produce torrential downpours over a short period of time, resulting in localized flash flooding," the bulletin warned.

Lightning, gusty winds and small hail were possible in some areas, with storms expected to be strong enough to knock down trees, according to the NWS bulletin.

Blame the downpours on a low pressure weather system that formed in the eastern Gulf of Mexico, Outlaw said. The system crept into the Florida Panhandle and Tennessee before smacking the N.C. mountains and Charlotte area, according to the meteorologist.

On Monday, the National Hurricane Center initially gave the system a 40 percent chance of developing into a tropical cyclone from May 14-19, The (Raleigh) News & Observer reported. But as of Wednesday, the chance had dropped to zero, according to the newspaper.

Yet the system brought intense downpours at times.

Over 24 hours starting on Tuesday night, 1.73 inches of rain fell at Charlotte's airport, 1.4 inches in the Huntersville area and 2.62 inches in Mint Hill, according to rain gauge totals cited by Outlaw.

At least another 2 inches could fall through Saturday morning, he said.

Joe Marusak: 704-358-5067; @jmarusak.
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