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Heavy storms could affect part of area

A few heavy thunderstorms could hit parts of the Charlotte metro region, including Rock Hill, this afternoon as a cold front advances toward the area, plowing into unseasonably mild air.

Forecasters say the threat of severe thunderstorms and a few tornadoes will be highest over the southern half of Georgia and South Carolina this afternoon and evening.

However, they say, it is possible that a few severe storms -- and maybe even an isolated tornado or two -- could form along and south of the Interstate 85 corridor.

That would include Rock Hill, Charlotte and Monroe, and areas to the south.

At midday, a warm front was pushing northward through the Charlotte area. It triggered an area of showers and thundershowers. But the severe weather is expected later in the day, when a cold front moves toward the area.

A tornado watch has been posted for the southern half of Georgia this afternoon and could be moved eastward later in the day across the southern part of South Carolina.

The storms are being caused by the same system that produced a deadly tornado Thursday in southern Louisiana.

To the north of the Charlotte area today -- in places like Concord, Statesville and Hickory -- the atmosphere is expected to be too stable for heavy or severe storms to break out. But intermittent rain and possibly a few thundershowers are likely in those areas.

Temperatures today will be very mild, climbing into the middle and upper 60s. Lows this morning were near 60 degrees -- about 30 degrees warmer than average low temperatures at this time of year. The average high at this time of year is 51 degrees.

Saturday will be a dry and very warm day, say forecasters. They expect partly sunny skies and temperatures climbing to near 70 degrees.

Then another storm system approaches the region Sunday.

This time, say forecasters, heavy rain is a possibility. For now, meteorologists are predicting about an inch of rain in the Piedmont, but that forecast might be changed as the storm develops.

After rain moves out of the area early Monday, the eastern United States will come under the influence of a cooler weather pattern.

John Tomko, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said an upper-level low pressure system over the East will bring cooler Canadian air into the region. For the Charlotte metro area, that means daytime high temperatures much closer to normal next week -- in the lower 50s.