Heavy storms develop northwest of Charlotte

Strong thunderstorms developed early Saturday evening in the foothills and mountains northwest of Charlotte, blowing down trees and power lines near Hickory and threatening flash flooding in the mountains.

The storms weakened shortly after sunset and moved eastward, out of the Charlotte region. But forecasters said additional thunderstorms could develop late Saturday night and early Sunday.

The strong thunderstorms hit Hickory around 6:30 p.m. Authorities in Catawba County reported strong winds blew a tree onto a house on 17th Street S.E., about a mile southeast of Hickory. And power lines were down along 3rd Street, authorities said. There were reports of 3/4-inch hail near Hickory.

The storms weakened as they moved into Iredell and Davie counties.

Meanwhile, a flash flood warning is posted until 11:45 p.m. for northwest Ashe County, near the Virginia border.

The National Weather Service office in Blacksburg, Va., said thunderstorms had dumped between 2 and 4 inches of rain in the northwest part of the county. Forecasters said areas such as Ashland, Lansing, Shatley Springs and Trout were in danger of floods.

The north fork of the New River and tributaries of the New River are expected to flood Saturday evening, forecasters said.

The thunderstorms were developing in an unstable air mass covering the western Carolinas. Additional storms are expected throughout the evening and into the overnight hours, forecasters said.