Cooler weather in wake of Charlotte’s recent tornado

Charlotte’s taste of summer weather has come to an end – for a few days at least.

The cold front that helped trigger a tornado Thursday in west Charlotte has brought much cooler weather to the region, setting the stage for a weekend that will feature temperatures well below average.

Part of the weekend will be rain-free in Charlotte, including Saturday evening for the NASCAR All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Temperatures at race time will be in the mid- and upper-60s.

But there will be a chance of showers Saturday in the foothills and mountains, and across the entire region on Sunday.

The heat will return by late next week, forecasters said.

With mostly clear skies, temperatures are expected to drop into the 40s Saturday morning, and readings could be near the record for the date – 43 degrees, set in 1973.

A weak, low-pressure system is expected to pass north of Charlotte on Saturday, allowing a chance of showers in the higher elevations. In Charlotte, clouds are predicted to increase later in the day, but highs should reach the low 70s again.

Another weak, low-pressure system is forecast to cross the area Sunday. That means mostly cloudy skies, temperatures only in the upper 60s, and a chance of showers.

Clearing is forecast for Monday, with temperatures rebounding into the mid-70s. Meteorologists say Charlotte’s highs will be near 90 degrees again by next Thursday.

The National Weather Service confirmed late Thursday that a tornado touched down briefly in west Charlotte earlier in the day.

Tony Sturey of the Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C., said the twister touched down at 6:46 a.m. on Arrow Point Boulevard, near Arrowood Road in southwest Charlotte. It peeled siding off an industrial building, tore a glass panel off another building, and knocked down trees on Arrowood Road.

Sturey said the tornado was an EF-0, the weakest classification, with winds of 80 to 85 mph. It was on the ground for about two-thirds of a mile, he said. Sturey said storm damage farther north, along the I-77 corridor, appeared to be caused by thunderstorm winds.

Charlotte received 2.11 inches of rain from the series of showers and thunderstorms Thursday. Almost 6 inches of rain fell near Raleigh. No serious flooding was reported across the state, however.