Flash flood watch issued for much of Charlotte area

A slow-moving cold front is forecast to bring repeated rounds of showers and thunderstorms to the Charlotte region Thursday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a flash flood watch for much of the region.

This comes two weeks after another slow-moving front failed to produce the heavy rain and severe storms that were predicted across the area.

This time, National Weather Service meteorologists said computer models agree that a fetch of very moist and unstable air will ride northward in advance of the front Thursday. Heavy rain is expected late Wednesday night and Thursday morning in the mountains.

Then, as a weak disturbance forms along the front around midday Thursday, the heavy rain is predicted to affect the Interstate 77 corridor and areas to the north.

The flash flood watch for the Charlotte area is in effect from 8 a.m. Thursday until 6 a.m. Friday. However, the heaviest rain is predicted for the Charlotte region from midday Thursday until the late-evening hours. Heavy rain could persist into the early-morning hours of Friday along the Interstate 40 corridor, according to the Weather Service’s Bryan McAvoy.

“The potential exists for a widespread 2 to 4 inches of rain from numerous thunderstorms,” he said. “Areas where thunderstorms repeatedly affect the same locations may see heavier rainfall.”

Two weeks ago, a pocket of cool air pushed into the North Carolina Piedmont and disrupted thunderstorm development. No such cool air is nearby this time.

In addition, the predicted rainfall two weeks ago was derailed by the development of heavy storms along the Florida Panhandle. Those storms disrupted the movement of moisture from the Gulf of Mexico into the Carolinas. It is not clear if that situation could repeat itself Thursday.