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Parts of Charlotte and surrounding areas were put under a tornado warning Thursday morning as severe weather moved into the region. The National Weather Service has confirmed sighted tornadoes.
The National Weather Service issued a tornado warning that includes parts of Mecklenburg, Gaston and Cabarrus counties until 11:45 a.m.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport evacuated its tower. EMS in Kannapolis reported seeing a tornado.
A tornado warning set to expire at 10:15 a.m. included Cherryville, Belwood and Kingstown, according to the National Weather Service’s Greenville-Spartanburg office. One that included Catawba and Lincoln counties was set to expire at 11 a.m. Another was issued for Gastonia, Kings Mountain and Bessemer City until 11:45 a.m.
A tornado warning means a tornado has been indicated by radar. A watch means tornadoes are possible. The National Weather Service says the total area under a tornado watch — which runs from north Georgia to near Winston-Salem — is home to about 9.7 million people.
Several areas in the region were under flash flood watches and warnings as rain and winds moved across the area.
Some area schools are closing early, including Rowan-Salisbury Schools, which is sending students home four hours early and canceling all after-school activities. Kannpolis City Schools planned to dismiss after the tornado warning was lifted.
Rain and thunderstorms will continue throughout Thursday in Charlotte, according to the National Weather Service, with wind gusts as high as 32 mph possible.
In Charlotte, a flash flood watch is in effect until 12 a.m. Friday.