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Tropical Storm Michael is just hours from crossing into South Carolina on a track toward the Charlotte region, where it is expected to cause “flooding rain,” heavy winds and possible tornadoes.
Some communities in Georgia had 5 inches of rain and more than 350,000 people were without power, reported the Weather Channel Thursday morning.
Parts of Mecklenburg County could also see as much as 5 inches of rain today and wind gusts over 30 mph, says the National Weather Service.
A Tropical Storm Warning and a Flash Flood Watch remain in effect for Mecklenburg County and much of the surrounding region, with the National Weather Service predicting a 100 percent chance of rain for Charlotte.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools will be closed Thursday in anticipation of potentially dangerous driving conditions.
The remnants of Michael are moving at 21 mph through eastern Georgia and the storm is expected to pick up speed, says the National Hurricane Center. Tropical-storm-force winds in the 60 mph range are extending out 160 miles from the center of the storm, said the NHC at 5 am Thursday.
“Heavy rain associated with Tropical Storm Michael will continue into this afternoon, tapering off as the storm moves east,” says the National Weather Service. “Gusty winds will persist into Friday morning.”
“Tornados will become likely later this morning and midday. Flash flooding will also be possible though the storm’s rapid motion should limit rainfall amounts.”
The storm is on track to cross the South Carolina Midlands Thursday morning, over Columbia, and then head toward Raleigh this evening, says the National Weather Service.
Power outages are possible, mostly due to trees downed on power lines, experts predict. The high winds and saturated soil will contribute to the problem, said the National Hurricane Center.
“The threat for heavy rain and flash flooding will be highest during the daylight hours today,” said a National Weather Service statement. “The storm will pass quickly, ending the threat from west to east late this afternoon and evening.”
Winds in Charlotte are expected to pick up into the 21 mph range Thursday afternoon and gusts as high as 33 mph are predicted. The high winds will continue through Thursday night with gusts as high as 24 mph, says the National Weather Service.
Mark Price: 704-358-5245, @markprice_obs