'Hit you in the face' heat spawns spotty afternoon downpours
Posted June 21, 2012
Raleigh, N.C. — Steamy high temperatures climbed into the mid-90s Thursday afternoon across central North Carolina and spawned some spotty downpours in and around Raleigh.
Portions of Wake County are under a flash flood warning until 8 p.m.
The low-level moisture brought tremendous variances in both temperature and rainfall over short distances, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. The Hillsborough Street area in Raleigh saw 3 inches of rain, while, just 4 miles south on Tryon Road, conditions were completely dry.
"Most areas are not getting rain, but boy, if you're underneath some of this stuff, it's very impressive," Fishel said.
Temperatures neared 90 degrees across much of the area by lunchtime before topping out around 96 degrees.
"Our heat index is going to make it feel more like 100 degrees this afternoon," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "We haven't had a lot of heat yet, so be careful outside while you get acclimated."
The record high temperature for June 21 was set in 1964, when the mercury topped out at 99 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport.
Areas in the Piedmont were under a Code Orange Air Quality Alert through Thursday evening, as high temperatures will mix with potentially unhealthy ground-level ozone concentrations from Greensboro south to Charlotte.
More widespread showers could make their way to the area Friday afternoon as a cold front moves in from the north and west. The front will also provide a brief break from highs in the mid-90s, as weekend temperatures should remain near 90 degrees.
"It won't be a huge drop, but you'll be able to feel the difference," Gardner said.