FAA warns of flight delays as thunderstorms predicted to pummel Charlotte area again

The Federal Aviation Administration warned of possible flight delays in Charlotte on Tuesday as thunderstorms are forecast to pummel the region again.

“Scattered to numerous showers with a few embedded thunderstorms will cross the area today, as a cold front pushes from west to east,” the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C., said in a hazardous weather outlook bulletin at 5 a.m. Tuesday.

The most intense storms could reach Charlotte just before 4 p.m. and continue until about 5 p.m., according to the NWS forecast at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

“The main threats will be cloud-to-ground lightning and locally heavy rainfall,” according to the alert. “Isolated flash flooding cannot be ruled out.”

The NWS issued the alert for Mecklenburg and surrounding counties, upstate South Carolina and the N.C. mountains and foothills.

The chance of severe weather from the storms, such as tornadoes, hail and damaging winds, is small, however, meteorologist Harry Gerapetritis of the NWS Greer office told The Charlotte Observer at 9:30 a.m.

Drought in Charlotte

And this latest bout of summer storms will likely fail “to make a pretty significant dent” in the region’s drought, even when combined with last weekend’s rains from Tropical Storm Claudette, he said.

“We expect thunderstorms to develop mid- to late afternoon through the Charlotte area, but it’s not going to be enough” to rid Mecklenburg and nearby counties of parched conditions, Gerapetritis said.

Mecklenburg, Union and Cabarrus counties, along with northern Iredell County, are “abnormally dry,” the lowest of five drought rankings on the U.S. Drought Monitor map that’s updated every Thursday.

Most of Anson and Montgomery counties to the east of Charlotte are one notch worse, considered in “moderate drought.”

The weather front producing the storms “should be through the mountains by midday and through the Piedmont by early evening,” according to the NWS alert.

Thunderstorm chances

Charlotte’s airport has an 80% chance of thunderstorms on Tuesday afternoon, according to the NWS forecast at 11 a.m. Tuesday.

Showers and thunderstorms are likely between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m., according to the NWS, before the chance of severe weather begins to lessen.

The NWS predicts gusts of up to 22 mph in the late afternoon, with a high of 80 degrees.

Wednesday should be mostly sunny, with a high near 81, and and Wednesday night partly will be cloudy, with a low of about 63, NWS forecasters said.

Thursday should be mostly sunny, with a high near 82, according to the NWS.

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