Strong and slow-moving thunderstorms battered southeast Charlotte and the city's eastern suburbs Tuesday evening, knocking out power and triggering flash flooding during the evening commute.
A flash flood warning is in effect for eastern Mecklenburg and western Union counties until 9:30 p.m. Tuesday. National Weather Service radar estimates that 3 inches or more of rain fell in a 90-minute period in parts of that area. An Observer-monitored gauge in Matthews showed more than 3 inches of rain between 5 and 6:30 p.m. another gauge in Mint Hill showed nearly 5 inches of rain fell in a little more than an hour.
At 6:15 p.m., there were numerous reports of flooded roads across southeast Charlotte, Matthews, Mint Hill, and western Union County towns such as Stallings, Indian Trail and Lake Park. Mecklenburg County's 911 Call Center reported it had received reports of water up to the windows of some cars in the town.
Idlewild Road was flooded in several spots between N.C. 51 and Margaret Wallace Road, and flooding also was reported on Sam Newell Road near Crown Point Elementary School. Lawyers Road was blocked by a fallen tree between N.C. 51 and Lebanon Road.
Cabarrus County officials are reporting trees blown down at several spots on U.S. 601, including near N.C. 200.
By 6:30 p.m., the rain appeared to be tapering off in parts of the area.
Duke Energy reported more than 2,000 power outages, including about 800 in the area near the Arboretum -- at Providence Road and Pineville-Matthews Road -- in southeast Charlotte. The storms carried vivid lightning, and fire truck sirens could be heard throughout the area.
During the height of the storm, a multi-vehicle wreck was reported on the outer loop of Interstate 485 in Mint Hill. That turned the road into a near parking lot.
The storms formed in advance of a cold front that is cutting through the hot and humid air that has covered the region for several days. Temperatures climbed into the 90s Tuesday afternoon before the storms arrived.
The forecast high for Wednesday is 87 degrees, with low humidity levels. Morning temperatures Thursday are expected to be in the lower 60s in Charlotte, with upper 50s to the north and northwest of the city.