Heat's impact hits roads, thermostats

Posted June 29, 2012

— It got so hot Friday afternoon that the road buckled, diverting rush hour traffic and sending crews scrambling to a portion of Interstate 440 right near Cary's Crossroads.

Heat causes highway to buckle Heat's impact felt in asphalt

"The record high temperature caused the concrete under the asphalt to swell, and, as the concrete slabs pushed together, the asphalt roadway surface was broken apart," according to a statement from the North Carolina Department of Transportation. 

"We've got a pretty old roadway," explained  DOT spokesman Steve Halsey.

A hole three feet wide and about a foot deep formed across both lanes, shutting down a quarter-mile section of U.S. Highway 1. Two westbound lanes of I-440 were closed beyond the Jones Franklin Road exit, and all traffic was diverted to the right two collector lanes to travel through to U.S. Highway 1/64 South.

The road reopened just after 8 p.m.

Friday was just the first of a series of  triple-digit days, each of which could see the Triangle break an all-time temperature record. The afternoon high of 105 tied that record and blew past the previous record for the date, 101 degrees recorded in 1945.

Even after dark, there was little relief from the stifling heat. At Cary's Koka Booth Amphitheater, the crowd that turned out for an outdoor movie needed fans and plenty of cool drinks. 

Across town, Alan Turner was surrounded by explosives at his fireworks tent. Heat from the pavement trapped the rising heat inside. "It would be nice to have a thermometer in here to see just how hot it was," he said.

Power use was greater than normal Friday as homes and businesses tried to keep cool, according to a Progress Energy spokesman, but the utility should have capacity enough to withstand several days of record heat. Demand was expected to decrease over the weekend with most people at home and fewer business open.

Jon Williams, state Secretary of Commerce for Energy, urged residents to turn up the thermostat to ease that load. “If every customer adjusts the thermostat just up to two degrees, it will cut down on the demand for power, help avoid potential blackouts and control utility bills,” he said.

Relief from triple-digit temperatures could come as soon as Monday when the high is forecast to be just 98 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.


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  • STRAWBERRY LETTER 23 Jun 29, 2012


    I like the 70's temps too. I LOVE the cool and cold temps, as well though. At least when it's cold, I can bundle up. When it's super hot, can't take off but so much. LOL!


  • warbirdlover Jun 29, 2012

    I worked 35 years outside as a Heavy Equipment Field Tech.(Fancy Name For Wrench Jockey) I have found it is easier to build a fire in the winter, than build An A/C out of the same pile of wood. Give me 72/78 during the day and 45/50 at night.

  • westernwake1 Jun 29, 2012

    Roads buckling in heat = poor road design. Ask any civil engineer.

    Sounds like the NC DOT has yet another construction problem.

  • mfarmer1 Jun 29, 2012

    >> "It was nice and cool early this morning. You've got to get up earlier, folks! - Jackieann"

    80 Degrees Is Not Cool

  • mfarmer1 Jun 29, 2012

    They Wanted Me To Work 3 Extra Hours Today, It Was So Hot My Legs Were Melting (I Work Out Side).

  • cn38of50 Jun 29, 2012

    Also remember that old freon AC's can "Freeze" when overloaded to this extreme. During the hottest hours (when most of us are at work) push the thermostat up and save yourself from having to call a repairman.

  • Uhavenoclu Jun 29, 2012

    With the way the lights are synched,The fact that 3 of the major universities in the country only have 2 lanes going in and out of them,and the fact that the roads are not made properly only goes to show and say something...Whoever is in charge of the DOT for NC does not know what they are doing and need to be replaced.

  • BeenHereSince67 Jun 29, 2012

    Oh but don't you little people worry now. There's no such thing as Global Warming. Go back to sleep. (sarcasm)

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jun 29, 2012

    Hi Beth -

    Give me the 70s and a breeze, and I'm a happy person too.

  • DontVote4LiarsCheatsOrThieves Jun 29, 2012

    Jackieann - "It was nice and cool early this morning. You've got to get up earlier, folks!"

    I'm a night worker/day sleeper. At 7am this morning, it was NOT cool!!!