Tornadoes, Flooding Reported As Severe Weather Slams Charlotte Region

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The National Weather Service has confirmed several radar-indicated tornadoes in the Charlotte region Thursday as severe weather moved through the area.

A torando was seen touching down near Charlotte’s airport just after 11 a.m.

The city of Kannapolis confirmed that a tornado touched down near the Lane Street exit on I-85. There were no injuries reported, but some property damage and power lines down. Others have been spotted in Gastonia and Rowan County.

The National Weather Service previously issued tornado warnings that included parts of Mecklenburg, Gaston, Cabarrus and Stanly counties.

Charlotte-Douglas International Airport briefly evacuated its tower. 

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.

The city of Hickory declared an official state of emergency Thursday afternoon in response to flooding and flash flooding that damaged streets, bridges and other public infrastructure.

Some area schools are closing early, including Rowan-Salisbury Schools, which is sending students home four hours early and canceling all after-school activities. Kannapolis City Schools planned to dismiss after the tornado warning was lifted. 

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools says it’s not dismissing early but is cancelling after-school activities. 

Rain and thunderstorms will continue throughout Thursday in Charlotte, according to the National Weather Service, with wind gusts as high as 32 mph possible.

Duke Energy reported power outages across the region.

In Charlotte, a flash flood watch is in effect until 12 a.m. Friday.

Duke Energy announced Wednesday that it had lowered lake levels ahead along the Nantahala, Catawba and Yadkin river basins. Duke said it expected that the lakes it controls, from Lake James to Mountain Island Lake, would have twice the normal capacity for rain.

The Red Cross opened two emergency shelters in the region — one at the Catawba County Community College and another in Rutherford County at Second Baptist Church on Green Street.