CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The First Warn Storm Team is tracking a confirmed tornado in Gaston County that is making its way up I-85 toward Charlotte as multiple tornado warnings and watches have been issued across the region Thursday.
A Tornado Warning for Mecklenburg, Gaston and Cabarrus counties is in effect until 12 p.m. Multiple warnings are in effect, and the entire area remains under a tornado watch until 5 p.m.
Charlotte Douglas International Airport urged passengers to seek shelter in their bathrooms and the FAA evacuated its control tower. A WCNC Charlotte viewer said towers in uptown were being evacuated to stairwells.
A funnel cloud was reported near Shelby in Cleveland County, prompting the tornado warnings. A radar confirmed tornado was confirmed in western Gaston County south of Kings Mountain. The National Weather Service reported a confirmed tornado about 11 miles southeast of Kings Mountain, running parallel with I-85. That storm is moving toward Gastonia as of 11 a.m.
"It's about the worst possible track the storm could have," said chief meteorologist Brad Panovich, who said the storm is following the path of I-85 as it moves toward Charlotte and Cabarrus County.
Panovich explained that there is a threat for isolated tornadoes and damaging winds with these storms but the biggest threat will be flooding. There have been multiple reports of downed trees across the Charlotte area.
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