CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A line of severe thunderstorms moved through Charlotte and the Interstate 77 corridor of North Carolina and South Carolina Friday, moving out of the region shortly after 9 p.m.
The National Weather Service warned the storms could produce damaging winds up to 60 mph, and hail upwards of 1.75 inches in addition to a possible tornado.
A Tornado Watch was in effect for most of the Charlotte area until 8 p.m. Friday. This watch included, but was not limited to: Alexander, Anson, Ashe, Avery, Burke, Cabarrus, Caldwell, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lancaster Lincoln, McDowell, Mecklenburg, Richmond, Rowan, Union and Watauga counties.
Nearly 500 flights out of Charlotte Douglas International Airport were delayed during the severe weather and more than 85 were canceled, according to FlightAware.
Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich said the risk for severe thunderstorms in Charlotte and surrounding areas increased because of afternoon sunshine, which allowed the atmosphere to heat.
The National Weather Service has reported sightings of hail as storms pushed through our area.
According to NWS, roughly 1.75 inches was reported in the Crouse area around 4:55 p.m., and about 1.75 inches was reported in the Kings Mountain area around 4:50 p.m.
About 1 inch of hail was reported in the Lincolnton area around 4:55 p.m., roughly 1 inch was reported near Crowders around 4:56 p.m., and less than an inch was reported in Shelby around 4:50 p.m.
PHOTOS: May 6 severe weather impacts
About 4,000 people were without power as severe thunderstorms pushed through the at times Carolinas Friday afternoon.
According to Duke Energy, about 2,845 customers in the greater Waxhaw area were reported to be without power around 2:30 p.m. Fewer than 100 customers were without power as of 11 p.m.
Roughly 1,029 were reported to be without power near Richburg, SC just before 2 p.m., according to Duke Energy. As of 11 p.m., roughly 1,000 customers were still without power.
Outages were also reported near Mt. Gilead, NC around 3:45 p.m. As of 11 p.m., roughly 1,000 customers in the Norwood area were still without power.
The biggest threats from Friday's storms were damaging winds, heavy rain, large hail, lightning and isolated tornadoes, with a flood risk for some areas depending on local rain totals.
What to do during a tornado warning
When there is an active tornado warning, you need to know where you should go. No matter where you are, whether it's at home, an apartment, in the car or out and about, you should always have a plan for severe weather.
In a house
When at home, you and your family need to go to a safe place. First, go to the lowest level of your home immediately. A basement is ideal, but if you don't have one, find the most interior room of your house away from windows.
Crouch on the floor and cover your head as much as you can. Brad Panovich's family keeps helmets in their safe space, along with other supplies for a tornado warning.
Your safe place should have a flashlight, as well as food and water. You should always wear shoes because if there is damage, you may have to walk through nails or broken glass.
In an apartment
In an apartment building, the same rules apply. You need to head to the lowest level, but use the stairs because the elevator could lose power. A place like under the staircase, an interior hallway or a room with no windows is your safe place. Crouch and cover your head.
In a car
This is the riskiest place to be during a tornado. If the tornado is far enough away you can drive away from it at 90-degree angles until you find a safe place. If it is nearby, DO NOT try to outrun it. Instead, pull over. If a sturdy structure is not available, then stay in your car with your seatbelt on. Duck below the dash and cover your head.
An EF1 tornado can push a car and an EF2 can lift it off the road. DO NOT seek shelter under a bridge or overpass. Flying debris tends to move even faster, making it more dangerous.
At work or shopping
Most importantly, don't panic. Be mindful of others and move as quickly and safely as possible to an interior bathroom or storage room. Any enclosed place away from windows is your target. Some establishments will have a marked tornado shelter.
Other Locations? We've listed more severe weather safe places here
What is a severe thunderstorm by definition?
A thunderstorm is only considered severe when it has at least one of these:
Hail sized one inch or larger
Winds gusting in excess of 58 mph
When a thunderstorm has either of these criteria, the National Weather Service will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for individual storms.
If storms in the near future are expected to have these criteria, the National Weather Service will issue a Severe Thunderstorm Watch across an entire region. Severe Thunderstorm Warnings could then be issued for individual storms as needed.
What is a tornado warning?
The National Weather Service will issue tornado warnings on individual storms that are likely, or are already producing, a tornado warning.
Similar to thunderstorms, the National Weather Service may issue a Tornado Watch ahead of storms. A watch could expand across an entire region in advance of storms.
Wake Up Charlotte To Go is a daily news and weather podcast you can listen to so you can start your day with the team at Wake Up Charlotte.
SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts || Spotify || Stitcher || TuneIn || Google Podcasts
All of WCNC Charlotte's podcasts are free and available for both streaming and download. You can listen now on Android, iPhone, Amazon, and other internet-connected devices. Join us from North Carolina, South Carolina, or on the go anywhere.