Know your thunderstorm types
A tornado watch was issued at 10:30 a.m. Friday for the Piedmont and foothills of North Carolina, including the Charlotte area.
The watch for the region will remain in effect until 5 p.m., as a violent storm front passes through the Carolinas with severe thunderstorms and damaging wind gusts, according to the National Weather Service.
After 3:30 p.m., tornado warnings were issued in North Carolina for parts of Iredell, Lincoln, Catawba and Alexander counties, northwest of Charlotte.
The Charlotte region could get up to 2 inches of rain could fall in the afternoon and evening, forecasters say.
The “greatest widespread threat” for the foothills and Piedmont will be after 11 a.m. and could include wind gusts in excess of 58 mph “with a secondary threat for both tornadoes and severe hail,” NWS forecasters say.
“We’re most concerned about the threat for damaging wind across the whole area, with the greatest risk of tornadoes east of Interstate 77,” forecasters said in a tweet. “Any tornadoes that form could spin up FAST, so heed all warnings right away!”
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued at 9:30 a.m. Friday, for the Hendersonville and East Flat Rock areas in N.C., and flash flood warnings were issued for Franklin, Bryon City, Brevard and Cedar Mountain.
The thunderstorms were expected to reach the mountains in southwest North Carolina near daybreak and should “strengthen over the foothills through the morning hours, then intensify approaching the I-77 corridor Friday afternoon,” NWS said in a forecaster discussion.
Most of the unsettled weather is expected in the Charlotte region between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m., forecasters say.
“Localized excessive rainfall may cause flash flooding of small streams and urban areas,” NWS forecasters say.
The unsettled weather is associated with a “dynamic” cold front moving through the region, the National Weather Service says.
“There is a good chance that some of these storms could become severe as the front moves through the area,” the National Weather Service says. “Cooler temperatures and lingering showers are expected behind the front.”