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Life-threatening ‘microbursts’ may erupt as storms hit I-77 corridor Friday afternoon

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Ever heard of the term 'supercell' but didn't know what it was? Learn about these powerful storms responsible for most tornadoes in the United States and other thunderstorms in this video from NWS.
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Ever heard of the term 'supercell' but didn't know what it was? Learn about these powerful storms responsible for most tornadoes in the United States and other thunderstorms in this video from NWS.

Parts of North Carolina, including the Charlotte area, are being warned to brace for another round of “isolated strong to severe thunderstorms,” including possible life-threatening “microbursts” on Friday afternoon.

The storms will be centered on the Interstate 77 corridor in North Carolina and the eastern half of upstate South Carolina, the National Weather Service says.

“While damaging winds possibly due to microbursts are the main threat, stronger thunderstorms may also be capable of producing small hail and brief heavy downpours,” forecasters say.

“Based on current timing, the threat for a strong/severe storm will be mainly across the eastern Piedmont, Sandhills and the Coastal Plain during the afternoon hours.”

A “microburst” is a “column of sinking air within a thunderstorm” — a downdraft — that can cause extensive damage as winds of up to 100 mph plunge, hit the ground and fan out, the National Weather Service says. Hail is often included, experts say.

The storms Friday are tied to a cold front approaching from the west Thursday night, officials say. It is expected to bring widespread wind gusts of 25 to 35 mph and the possibility of “locally damaging straight-line winds,” the NWS says.

The chance of rain in the region is 70 percent, mostly after 2 p.m., with a high of 75 degrees, forecasters say.

The storms are expected to clear overnight Friday into Saturday morning.

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