Walmart shoppers watch as massive funnel cloud forms

by: John Ahrens, Trish Williford Updated:

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Walmart shoppers in Granite Falls watched a massive funnel cloud from the parking lot Tuesday afternoon.

Channel 9 viewer Shane Autrey captured amazing video on his phone during his break around 2:30 p.m.

Tiffany Fagan works across the street. She immediately pulled out her phone and snapped some photos of the natural phenomenon.
 
"I wasn't too worried about it here over there we were worried what was happening with them," said Tiffany Fagan, a resident.
 
Granite Falls police said there no injuries were reported.

It was unconfirmed Tuesday night if it was a tornado.


WEATHER UPDATES: Tornado watch extended until 1 a.m.

11:30 p.m. UPDATE: Areal flood warning for Avery County until 1:30 a.m. Wednesday.

11 p.m. UPDATE: Tornado watch remains in effect for several counties until 1 a.m.

N.C. counties under tornado watch:

Piedmont- Cabarrus, Davie, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan and Union.

Western North Carolina- Alexander, Catawba.

S.C. counties: Chester and York.

SOCIAL MEDIA UPDATES: Severe weather in the area

10:55 p.m. UPDATE: Heavy rain is approaching and will be near Charlotte Center City in the next 30 minutes.

IMAGES: Strong storms move into area Tuesday 

10:30 p.m. UPDATE: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Alexander, Caldwell, Catawba and Iredell counties until 11:15 p.m.

CHECK INTERACTIVE RADAR

UPDATE: Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Cleveland County. Storm is moving northeast. Be on the lookout for heavy rainfall and strong winds.

9:30 p.m. UPDATE: A line of storms is moving slowly east -- still expecting heavy rain in Charlotte to arrive closer to midnight.

8:40 p.m. UPDATE: A flash flood warning is in effect for Avery, Burke, and Caldwell counties until 11:30 p.m. Tuesday.

8:15 p.m. UPDATE: Flash flood warning in effect for Ashe and Watauga counties in North Carolina until 2:15 a.m. Wednesday.

6:50 p.m. UPDATE: Tracking some heavy showers and thunderstorms over Upstate S.C. moving quickly northeast. The system could cause severe weather.

5:25 PM UPDATE: Heavy rain is moving into Charlotte around 5:30 p.m. A tornado watch will be in place until 10 p.m., but the biggest threat has gone down.
Rain will stick around past midnight before clearing out Wednesday morning. The possibility of gusty winds will stick around, though.

2:58 PM UPDATE:
Caldwell Co Schools official said the school buses will not roll until the Tornado Warning is lifted.

2:51 PM UPDATE:
The superintent of Alexander County Schools says the dismissal of school has been delayed due to weather conditions.

2:33 PM UPDATE:
John Ahrens said confidence is growing of a tornado on the ground in eastern Burke County west of  Hickory.

2:15 PM UPDATE:
Tornado warning issued for Alexander, Burke, Caldwell and Catawba counties until 3 p.m.

2:05 PM UPATE: Burke County Schools are on lockdown as a precaution for Tornado Warning in the county.

1:30 PM UPDATE: Tornado Warning for Burke, Catawba, Cleveland and Lincoln County in NC until 2:15 p.m.

12:45 PM UPATE: A Tornado Warning has been issued for Cleveland County until 1:30 p.m.

Stay ahead of the storm and get severe weather alerts on your smartphone and tablet.
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A Tornado Watch was issued earlier in the afternoon for several counties in North and South Carolina.

Click here  for the interactive radar to see what’s happening in your neighborhood. 

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Funnel cloud causes Alexander Co. schools to delay dismissal

Students in Alexander County had to stay in classrooms past the final bell Tuesday because of the threat of a funnel cloud.

It has been raining on and off across the foothills for much of the afternoon but it was the threat of tornadoes that had people across five counties in our area taking cover.

The storm raced across Burke County at 45 mph and there was a report of a funnel cloud near Valdese but Burke County Emergency Services said it never touched down and they had no reports of damage.

There were some reports of trees down in Caldwell County.

Farther east in Alexander County, school dismissal for students was delayed for about 20 minutes so the weather could clear before the children were let go.

"It was great that they were prepared and ready,” said Sheri Farley, a mother. “I felt safe. I felt like my child was safe."