Cooler Charlotte temps expected after storms bring hail, torrential rain, 60-mph gusts

How to stay safe when the storms roll into your neighborhood

Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.
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Watch a NOAA video about being safe when thunderstorms and lighting approach.

Severe storms with small hail, gusty wind and enough rain to flood rivers and creeks are expected to descend on metro Charlotte and surrounding counties beginning late Friday.

The good news?

Charlotte is finally set to escape its more than month-long string of 90-degree and above days.

A cold front is expected to keep highs in the mid-70s at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Saturday, according to the latest forecast on Friday afternoon from the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. The office oversees weather in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties and the N.C. foothills and mountains.

Intense storms arrived in the Charlotte area early Friday evening.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police tweeted about the life-threatening danger of driving on flooded roads. Turn around, police tweeted.

Just before 6:30 p.m., the weather service issued a severe thunderstorm warning for north Mecklenburg and eastern Lincoln counties until 7:30 p.m., as well as for Charlotte Motor Speedway and Harrisburg in Cabarrus County.

Damage to trees and power lines was expected as the storm packed 60 mph gusts. Penny-size hail also was expected, according to the warning.

“The Piedmont of the Carolinas and the Charlotte metro area stand the best chance for severe storms,” NWS meteorologists said in an earlier hazardous weather outlook bulletin. “Localized flooding will be possible in areas affected by multiple thunderstorms. Small streams could approach bankfull conditions where heavy rain falls.”

Saturday’s high is expected to reach only 75 degrees at Charlotte’s airport, as thunderstorms and showers continue to pummel the area, according to the latest NWS forecast just before 6 p.m. Friday.

As rain eventually moves from the region, highs are forecast to climb to 77 degrees on Sunday, 79 on Monday and 83 on Tuesday — still quite cool considering the sultry summer so far.

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Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.