Overnight storm dumps heavy rain on York County; more expected

jzou@heraldonline.com, jmcfadden@heraldonline.comApril 29, 2014 

Thunderstorms rolled across York County and the greater Charlotte area early Wednesday morning, producing plenty of lightning and heavy rain but creating few problems.

The National Weather Service reported reported 175 lightning strikes during 15-minute span after the storm began at about 2:30 a.m.

The storms moved northeast of the region before 6 a.m.

Weather officials say over a half-inch of rain fell on Rock Hill overnight. Some areas in York County, particularly parts of Fort Mill near Carowinds and segments of northern Rock Hill that border Lake Wylie, saw just above an inch of rainfall.

The weather was not as severe in the Charlotte-metro region because thunderstorms along the Gulf of Mexico grew in intensity, dumping 25 inches of rain on the southern panhandle of Florida that would have battered the Upstate had those storms "not become so intense down there," said Doug Outlaw, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

Additional showers and thunderstorms are predicted for the rest of Wednesday, and a flash flood watch remains in effect until late Wednesday night. Forecasters say the threat of severe thunderstorms and even a few tornadoes will remain in place during the day and into Wednesday evening.

The Weather Service initially expected the storm system to reach the area on Tuesday.

“It’s been unusually quiet basically all day (Tuesday),” said meteorologist Andrew Kimball with the National Weather Service. “We are still expecting thunderstorms to develop.”

Forecasters expect that at least another inch of rain will fall on Rock Hill and the surrounding areas as the storm system moves closer to the coast, Outlaw said. The scattered showers are expected to wind down sometime after 10 p.m.

The highs on Wednesday are expected to exceed about 80 degrees, Outlaw said, with a low of about 60 degrees Wednesday night. Dry weather will overtake the region on Thursday with temperatures reaching into the 70s before they dip again on Friday, when lows are expected to dip to 48 degrees during the night.

The region will likely not experience significant rainfall again until late next week, Outlaw said.

The storm system that battered system moving through the region spawned tornadoes responsible for at least 35 deaths in Mississippi, Alabama and Arkansas by late Tuesday afternoon.

Steve Lyttle with The Charlotte Observer contributed

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