Storm threat fizzles; cooler week ahead for Charlotte

The Charlotte area dodged a storm threat overnight and now is in store for a week of unusually cool, dry weather for late July.

The severe thunderstorms that pounded eastern Tennessee and the North Carolina mountains with damaging winds, large hail and possible tornadoes took a run at the Charlotte area late Sunday and early Monday, but the storms fizzled as they moved into the Piedmont.

Rain fell across the region in the early morning hours Monday but has since ended.

The showers and thunderstorms were ahead of a strong cold front that will drop temperatures and humidity levels, starting Monday night.

Forecasters say they don’t expect additional precipitation during the day. Monday is predicted to be hot again, with highs around 90 degrees. The cooler air isn’t expected to arrive until Monday night.

But temperatures are forecast to fall into the mid-60s by early Tuesday morning, and highs Tuesday are only expected to reach the lower and middle 80s. Humidity levels also will be low. That combination is unusual for this time of year, when high temperatures typically are around 89 degrees in Charlotte.

The cool and dry weather is forecast to continue for the rest of the week, thanks to a Canadian high-pressure system influencing the eastern part of the United States. By late in the week and next weekend, moisture is predicted to return to the area, probably leading to a wet weekend.

Sunday’s storms were severe across southeastern Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, southwest Virginia and the N.C. mountains. There were at least two reports of tornadoes in eastern Tennessee, including one storm that destroyed 10 homes.

The storms pushed into the N.C. mountains Sunday evening, knocking down trees and power lines in the Asheville area.

National Weather Service forecasters said some of the computer models predicted the storms would weaken as they crossed the mountains, but the Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma issued a tornado watch for late Sunday night from Charlotte westward.

The storms maintained their strength into Burke and Rutherford counties. In Burke County, lightning set fire to a barn near Antioch Road and Anthony Drive, near Morganton.

And in Rutherford County, National Weather Service spotters said trees and power lines were knocked down along Poors Ford Road, about 5 miles south of Rutherfordton.

A few wind gusts were reported in the immediate Charlotte area, and more than 500 Duke Energy customers lost power overnight in Mecklenburg County. Most of those outages were in the Stonecrest area near Rea Road. But those customers had power back again by daybreak Monday.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer