About 4,500 Duke Energy customers in Mecklenburg County were without power at 2:30 p.m. Thursday, after trees fell onto lines during severe thunderstorms Wednesday.
The total is down from about 9,000 customers earlier in the morning.
Two CMS schools are closed Thursday due to power outages, Briarwood Elementary and Eastway Middle, although teachers have a workday.
The southbound lanes of Queens Road at Henley Place are closed and barricaded because of a large tree in the road. Crews were able to open the northbound lanes Wednesday night, police said.
The southbound lanes are expected to remain closed through Thursday morning’s commute.
The storms also have left about 3,800 Duke Energy customers in Gaston County without power Thursday morning, 1,300 in Union County, 1,500 in Burke County and 1,600 in Catawba County.
In Gaston County, Chapel Grove Elementary School and Stanley Middle School are closed due to power outages, according to WBTV, the Observer’s news partner.
About 4,000 customers are without power in Forsyth County.
In South Carolina, about 5,000 Duke Energy customers are without power in Greenville-Spartanburg.
Storms knocked out power Wednesday to 96,000 Duke Energy customers in North Carolina and 19,700 customers of N.C. electric cooperatives.
Hardest hit were Charlotte, Hickory, Gastonia, Shelby, Morganton and Lancaster, S.C., according to Duke Energy.
The National Weather Service in Raleigh confirmed Thursday that a tornado touched down in Granville County, northeast of Durham, and two weaker tornadoes touched down in Duplin County on Wednesday. No injuries were reported.
February tornadoes are not unheard of in North Carolina, with nearly 50 having struck in that month since 1950, according to the State Climate Office. Still, February is the third least-active month for tornadoes in the state. December is the least active month, followed by January.
BBB issues “storm chasers” scam alert
The Better Business Bureau of Southern Piedmont issued an alert Thursday morning to homeowners who need to hire workers to repair roofs and fences and remove trees.
The BBB urged homeowners to hire a local contractor with a history of doing business in the Carolinas and to beware of “storm chasers.”
“One of the worst mistakes is to hire a storm chaser, a contractor who is working out of his pickup truck and going door-to-door soliciting business in storm-damaged areas,” BBB President Tom Bartholomy said. “There are hundreds of local contractors in the Southern Piedmont area who specialize in storm damage repairs who will deliver quality work, on time and within budget.
Check out a company’s BBB rating and complaint history at www.bbb.org.
Thursday should have much calmer weather in the Charlotte region, with mostly sunny skies and a forecast high of 54.
Still, the National Weather Service issued an advisory to boaters on Charlotte-area lakes about potentially strong wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph Thursday.
The wind gusts “will make conditions dangerous for boating on area lakes,” the weather service said in its advisory issued at 6:30 a.m. Thursday.
The weekend should remain sunny, with expected highs climbing from 50 Friday to 52 Saturday, 62 Sunday and 64 Monday. The normal high for Feb. 25 is 57 degrees.
In the N.C. mountains, a winter weather advisory is in effect until 7 a.m. Friday.
Some areas, including Boone and West Jefferson, can expect 1 to 4 inches of snow and wind gusts of 40 to 50 mph.