CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Heavy rain drenched the Charlotte region on Wednesday morning as a powerful storm system that caused blizzard conditions in the Midwest moved across the East Coast.
Around 7:40 a.m., the heaviest precipitation was in areas southeast of Charlotte, including in Union County. But radar showed another band of rain in portions of Lincoln and Gaston counties that was headed east.
More than an inch of rain fell in the morning commute hours in a gauge stationed at Charlotte Douglas International Airport, according to the National Weather Service.
Charlotte has tied a daily rainfall record of 1.70" which also occurred on this date in 1938. #cltwx.— Brad Panovich (@wxbrad) December 26, 2012
Meterologists say showers and thunderstorms will remain in the area until around 3 p.m. Wednesday before the rain becomes more scattered. The high will reach 54 degrees.
But along with the rain is the potential for damaging wind gusts and even a few tornadoes in the eastern two-thirds of the Carolinas for much of the day. The greatest threat, they say, will be east of the Charlotte area. But the Storm Prediction Center has included Charlotte in the “risk” area for severe storms Wednesday.
And after the thunderstorm threat ends, forecasters say gusty winds could cause additional problems later Wednesday and early Thursday.
The Carolinas are on the warmer side of the powerful storm, which is expected to cause a wide variety of inclement weather. Blizzard warnings are posted for Wednesday across parts of Ohio and Indiana, and an ice storm warning has been posted for parts of eastern West Virginia.
Heavy snow, soaking rains and severe storms were reported across a wide swath of the central United States on Christmas Day.
The severe weather threat is expected to grow even higher as the storms push farther east, into the Raleigh-Fayetteville-Florence corridor.
The Storm Prediction Center in Norman, Okla., included a portion of southeast North Carolina and northeast South Carolina in a “moderate” risk of severe weather Wednesday. That is unusual for this time of year. But there were more than 40 reports of tornadoes and thunderstorm-related wind damage on Christmas Day in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Once the thunderstorm threat has moved east, meteorologists say, strong winds around the circulation of the low pressure system in the Great Lakes will bring gusty conditions to the western Carolinas. Gerapetritis says the winds could knock down trees whose roots are weakened by the rain.
More peaceful conditions – with temperatures near or slightly below averages – are predicted for Thursday and Friday.
Storm brings heavy rain, but no major damage to NC
RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) -- A storm system has brought a lot of rain but not too much severe weather to North Carolina.
But forecasters say there is still a chance of strong storms and even tornadoes Wednesday afternoon east of Interstate 95.
The same system that brought dozens of tornadoes to the Southeast on Christmas Day was moving across North Carolina, bringing mostly heavy rain and gusty winds. Charlotte had 1.70 inches of rain, while some trees were reported blown down in the Piedmont.
Transportation officials reported the heavy rain hadn't caused major problems on the state's roads. North Carolina Ferry officials warn the storms could disrupt service and asked travels to call ahead.
A tornado watch has been issued for most of the state east of I-95 until 5 p.m.