Flash flood warnings for Mecklenburg, Union, York

More showers and thunderstorms are expected Friday for the Charlotte region, but forecasters don’t expect anything comparable to the severe weather that hit the area Thursday evening.

A weak cold front is dropping slowly southward across the Carolinas and is predicted to be stretched east to west across South Carolina by Friday morning.

National Weather Service meteorologists said Charlotte will still be close enough to the front for showers and storms during the day. The activity is not expected to become severe.

A gradual end of the stormy conditions is expected Friday night, with drier and cooler weather predicted for Saturday and Sunday, and daytime highs only around 80 degrees.

Strong but slow-moving thunderstorms battered much of the Charlotte area Thursday evening, bringing flash flooding, hail, dangerous lightning and some wind damage.

Wind damage was reported in Burke and Union counties, and thunderstorm gusts are blamed for causing considerable damage to a bird sanctuary in Indian Trail.

But heavy rain and flooding were the big problem. Flash flood warnings were in effect much of the evening for Mecklenburg, Union and York counties, and there were flood advisories for lesser levels of flooding in nearly every other county in the Charlotte area.

Strong thunderstorms knocked down trees across Burke County about 5 p.m. Thursday, and another storm hammered Mint Hill, Matthews and western Union County about 6 p.m. The latter storm dumped between 2 and 3 inches of rain in that area.

That same storm caused damage in Union County. Wind gusts blew down several large tree limbs on animal shelters, including one used to house pigeons at the nonprofit Carolina Waterfowl Rescue grounds in western Union County.

Director Jennifer Gordon said that other trees on the 11-acre property are “hanging over pens, getting ready to fall, so we are in the process of evacuating the pens.”

Volunteers at Carolina Waterfowl Rescue said they don’t believe any birds were injured in the storm.

“We anticipated the storm and had been moving animals to safety beforehand,” Gordon said. She said the grounds will need a lot of work by volunteers over the next few days.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg police reported high water blocking lanes about 7 p.m. on Ardrey Kell Road at Providence Road in southeast Charlotte, and a short time later on Rama Road in southeast Charlotte.

The N.C. Highway Patrol reported several lanes of southbound I-77 near Carowinds were flooded at 8:15 p.m. The lanes were closed for a time.

Rainfall from the storm ranged from a half-inch across northern and western Charlotte to about 3 inches near Lake Wylie and in Matthews and Mint Hill.

The FAA reported a hold on inbound and outbound flights for a time Thursday evening at Charlotte Douglas International Airport due to strong thunderstorms.

The storms followed a day when Charlotte saw its first 90-degree day of the year. The unofficial high temperature Thursday at the airport was 90 degrees.

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