Raleigh, N.C. — Triangle residents are bracing themselves for what could be the hottest day ever in the capital city, marking just the start of a predicted four-day stretch of 100-degree-plus weather.
Sweltering temperatures could reach a record-breaking 106 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Friday. The heat index will make it feel like 110 degrees.
"For those that think we're inflating these numbers, the atmosphere continues to exceed even our expectations," WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. "We're going for the hottest temperature ever observed. I don't take that lightly."
If it gets over 105 degrees at RDU Friday, that won't be the first record to fall to this heat wave. Nationwide, 1,011 records were broken in the past week, including 251 on Tuesday alone.
Temperatures will stay in the triple digits through Monday. Even during the nighttime, the mercury will struggle to drop below 80 degrees.
That extreme heat could spell trouble for anyone who spends time outside this weekend.
"I don't care if you are in the top 5 percent fit people in the United States of America," said Jeff Hammerstein, director of Wake County Emergency Medical Services. "You are not immune to this. It can bring you down."
Hammerstein urged people who must go outside to take common sense precautions – going out in the early mornings, drinking lots of water, taking breaks, and wearing cool, light-colored clothing – and to watch for symptoms of heat illnesses.
"If your muscles are cramping, that's the first sign you're starting to head down the wrong path," he said, adding that people should watch out for "any kind of dizziness, disorientation, nausea, headaches."
Even people staying indoors could have trouble in this heat.
Resources for Seniors and Cumberland County social services staff handed out free fans to their clients Thursday.
East Raleigh resident Dedra Offei, who has congestive heart failure, said the fan would help her health.
"Just a little bit more air means it's a little bit easier for me to breath," she said. "I'm just thankful. I'm really blessed."
"Especially people with a heat-sensitive medical condition, even though the fan doesn't cool the house like an air conditioner, it circulates the air, and that can help a great deal," said Crystal Black, adult services director for the Cumberland County Department of Social Services.
Heading to the beach this weekend might not break the heat.
"Even down at the beaches where you get the sea breeze, it's going to feel so much more humid down there that it may end up feeling the same as it does here in the middle part of the state," Fishel said.
Relief from triple-digit temperatures will finally come Tuesday, when the high is forecast to be 99 degrees. The mercury is expected to stay in the mid 90s through the middle of next week.
A chance for afternoon showers and thunderstorms returns Monday and Tuesday, but the scattered storms will have little impact on the hot weather.