CHARLOTTE, NC — A tornado watch is in effect in the Charlotte-metro area Sunday evening until 7 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. A flash flood watch is also in effect until 8 p.m. for the area.
The tornado watch is in effect for 11 counties in North Carolina, including Mecklenburg, Iredell, Cabarrus, Union, and Gaston counties.
"A strong cold front will push through the area this afternoon, with strong storms expected to develop along and ahead of the front," NWS said in a hazardous outlook bulletin April 15. "Torrential downpours are expected, and flash flooding will be possible across portions of the western Carolinas and northeast Georgia."
A tornado watch means conditions are favorable for severe thunderstorms and possibly tornadoes. Hail up to the size of a quarter is also possible, as are wind gusts up to 70 miles per hour, NWS said.
North Carolina Emergency Management is recommending people to:
Know the terms: WATCH means a tornado is possible. WARNING means TAKE ACTION: a tornado has been spotted; take shelter immediately. Know where the nearest safe room is in your home or work. Home – go to the basement under the stairs or to an interior room on the lowest floor, away from windows. Schools, hospitals, offices – go to a small interior room or hallway on the lowest floor. Avoid long corridors with windows and large open areas with free span roofs like gyms. High rise buildings – go to an interior hallway, bathroom or closet and stay away from windows. Modular homes and vehicles – leave immediately and go to a sturdy building. If you are outdoors, and there is no shelter available, take cover in a low-lying flat area. Watch out for flying debris. If driving, you should leave your vehicle immediately to seek safety in an adequate structure. Do not try to outrun a tornado in your vehicle, and do not stop under an overpass or a bridge.
(An earlier headline for this story erroneously said a tornado warning was in effect, instead of the tornado watch that is in effect until 7 p.m. We regret the error.)