CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Flooding remains a threat in the Charlotte region Friday after a line of severe storms led to the deaths of two drivers, spawned a tornado, downed trees and power lines, and left up to 23,000 Duke Energy customers in Mecklenburg County without power on Thursday.
A driver died when a tree fell on his car during an afternoon storm on Pleasant Road north of Fort Mill in York County, S.C., multiple media outlets reported. The driver's name has not yet been released by the county coroner's office.
And a driver died in Gaston County when his Ford Ranger hydroplaned in heavy rain, plummeted down a 25-foot embankment and overturned in a creek, Charlotte Observer news partner WBTV reported, citing the State Highway Patrol. Troopers identified the driver as Terry Roger Fisher of Cherryville.
Severe thunderstorms pummeled the region from early morning through late afternoon Thursday, and light to moderate amounts of rain were expected into the evening, according to the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. Lingering showers could produce more flash flooding on Friday, meteorologists said.
Tornado watches and warnings were issued for much of the Charlotte region beginning midmorning. Workers in uptown Charlotte office towers huddled in interior stairwells during a warning for the center city.
A tornado watch remained until 5 p.m. for the entire region, and a flash flood advisory was in place until midnight.
Around noon, the NWS tweeted that a tornado was observed in Rowan County.
A tornado touched down in Kannapolis near the Lane Street and Interstate 85 exit, city spokeswoman Annette Privette Keller said. No injuries were reported, she said.
NWS officials are sending survey crews to the area on Friday to confirm tornado activity.
Meanwhile, creeks throughout the region overflowed. They poured on to such heavily traveled roads as East Boulevard at Freedom Park in Charlotte. Downed trees blocked travel on numerous roads, including Queens Road West and Kings Drive.