Mercury climbs toward record high Wednesday

Posted May 2, 2012

— Southerly winds, high humidity and partly cloudy conditions helped the Triangle's early-May heat wave gain momentum Wednesday, with the mercury topping out in the low 90s.

The record high for May 2 was set in 2010, when the temperature at Raleigh-Durham International Airport topped out at 92 degrees. Wednesday's high stopped just short of that record with a high of 91, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. 

Areas in and around the Triangle experienced about a five-degree difference in high temperatures, Fishel said. Wake Forest and areas north of Durham, for example, topped out in the high 80s.

The above-normal temperatures felt even hotter due to a high level of water vapor in the air, Fishel said. Dew points usually reach into the 70s by July, but Wednesday's dew point was already at 67 in Raleigh, which is unusual for early spring. 

"For the early part of May, this is a mighty muggy air mass," said Fishel.

WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

The above-average temperatures and muggy conditions could fuel some isolated evening showers and thunderstorms in the northern portion of the state, but the weather will be fair across the majority of the viewing area. 

An organized storm system over Alabama is expected to head north and turn eastward over the next few days, bringing a chance for showers and thunderstorms Friday.

High temperatures will stay in the 90s Thursday, Friday and Saturday before a gradual cooldown starts on Sunday. Temperatures will return to the upper 70s and low 80s by early next week. 

Though a temperature spike in May isn't unusual for North Carolina, a Raleigh pool company said it's getting flooded with calls about a month earlier than normal.

Tara Onthank, whose family owns Rising Sun Pools, said if business continues to pour in, the company could see a 25-percent increase in sales this year.

Early heat wave is good news for pool, A/C businesses Early heat wave is good news for pool, A/C businesses

"I don't remember anything like this," she said. "We got such an influx of people starting really in the middle of March."

At Quality Air Conditioning in Raleigh, Terrance Clarke said he could use a spring rush.

"This has been my worst winter ever," he said, referring to mild winter temperatures that left little need for heating service.

But the earlier people turn on their air conditioners, the better for Clarke.

"Today was promising," he said. "This summer is going to be a scorcher."


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • kermit60 May 3, 2012

    If someone would have been around during millions of years of climate change before modern man, they would of called it global warming and got rich of it. But because no one was there I guess it was just the Earths cycle of climate change that has been going on for hundreds of millions of years.

  • piene2 May 3, 2012

    "Pienne2: I see you are still on here, been here all day. No luck with finding a job yet, huh. Maybe omama will come through for ya. Wait, this is what he did, ain't it, "spread the wealth"?

    All right, I confess, you got me. I am out of work. I have been out of work for years. I am not looking for work and if offered work I will refuse. So what is your point? Oh by the way, I am also seventy years old and such is my situation that I could afford to retire many years ago. I travel, I skydive, I amuse myself dabbling in investments and the recession has made me a lot more money. So now you know my dark secret.

  • WooHoo2You May 2, 2012

    The article is about the weather and you people are bringing up the president....yet again??? Seriously, some of you might need help.

  • jblake1932 May 2, 2012

    I love it! They say it's gonna rain today in the Northern part this afternoon, and it ain't! Man, they can never get it correct. Maybe more training is needed, idunno?

    Pienne2: I see you are still on here, been here all day. No luck with finding a job yet, huh. Maybe omama will come through for ya. Wait, this is what he did, ain't it, "spread the wealth"?

  • piene2 May 2, 2012

    "Al Gore who's the Global Warming expert made very poor grades in science when he was in college.

    Albert Einstein flunked out of three schools. So what the heck is your point, if any?

  • piene2 May 2, 2012

    "Oh my gawd, we're all going to die.
    Gerbil Herder"

    Will the shelters be open?

  • oldrebel May 2, 2012

    Obama is now taking credit for the higher temperatures.

  • autismawareness May 2, 2012

    same old story. seems on any givcen day we have about a 10% chance of setting a new high (at least it seems like we set 36 new highs every year for the last few years).
    nothing wrong here though.

  • br549znc May 2, 2012


  • Nunya123 May 2, 2012

    AirBorne Daddy apparently landed on his head one to many times.