Severe thunderstorm watch until 9 p.m.

A cold front plowing into warm and humid air is expected to trigger heavy thunderstorms this evening, and a severe thunderstorm watch has been posted for Mecklenburg County and areas to the northeast.

The watch extends until 9 p.m.

In the Charlotte metro region, it includes Mecklenburg, Union, Anson, Stanly, Cabarrus, Rowan, Davie and Iredell counties -- basically, along and east of Interstate 77 in North Carolina.

Forecasters say a few severe storms are possible this evening, with hail of up to 2 inches in diameter and damaging wind gusts of up to 70 mph.

A heavy storm affected parts of Iredell County about 3:30 p.m. The National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said up to 3 inches of rain fell in a narrow band across central Iredell County, from the Scotts community to near Turnersburg.

The cold front advancing into the western Carolinas will bring an end to the recent hot weather. A northeastly flow off the Atlantic Ocean is expected to establish itself Wednesday and Thursday, bringing low clouds, off-and-on showers, and high temperatures only in the 70s.

Rainfall could be quite persistent Wednesday but will begin tapering off Wednesday night and early Thursday.

On Friday, a more typical late-summer pattern will return, forecasters say, with partly sunny skies and highs returning to the middle 80s. Dry and warm weather is predicted to continue over the weekend.