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Water, A/C Hot Commodities as Temperatures Soar

Posted August 9, 2007
Updated August 10, 2007

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— From hospitals, to water use, to power, the ongoing heat continues to have a ripple effect all over the area.

Power companies reported record energy use. Duke Energy customers used more power Wednesday than ever before, and  Progress Energy was not far behind. And it's not just power – it’s water, too.

Raleigh water customers Wednesday shattered the previous record, officials said Thursday, using more than 74 million gallons in one day. The average is about 61 million.

“Typically on hot days, water usage patterns go up regardless if we set a record or not,” said Dale Crisp, Raleigh utilities director. “A lot of the commercial and institutional buildings use our potable water system for air conditioning.”

Local hospitals have been dealing with their own wave of heat-related problems.

“We’ve actually seen 17 people with heat-related illnesses in the past 24 hours, and that’s up almost threefold over the previous 24 hours where we just saw six people,” Dr. Anita L’Italien, a physician at WakeMed, said Thursday.

Rex Hospital just had two people come in Thursday with heat-related illnesses. Still, with another hot day expected Friday, doctors were warning everyone to take it easy.

The only things that made temperatures look almost reasonable Thursday were the heat-index reports, which were almost unbelievable.

At 4 p.m. Thursday, the National Weather Service reported a heat index – what the temperature feels like based on heat and humidity – of 121 at Manteo in Dare County, were the temperature was only 93 but humidity was high. In Jacksonville, home to Camp Lejeune, the temperature was 96 and the index was 122.

At the Raleigh-Durham International Airport, the thermometer read 104 and the index was calculated at 112.

Other temperatures around the state and the heat indices included:

  • Fayetteville, 105 and 111
  • Charlotte, 102 and 103
  • Lumberton, 102 and 108
  • Roanoke Rapids, 103 and 107
  • Rocky Mount-Wilson Airport, 103 and 107
  • Cape Hatteras, 89 and 106
  • Washington, 99 and 117
  • New Bern, 97 and 117
  • Greensboro, 100 and 102

At Grandfather Mountain, record-keepers noted a daily high temperature for the third day in a row, with 81 breaking the 1979 record of 79 degrees.

The city of Raleigh said some recycling and yard-waste collection routes could not be completed as workers were pulled out of the heat, but all garbage routes were finished except for one affected by an equipment problem.

The heat has put a heavy load on utilities. Duke Energy reported Thursday that between 3 and 4 p.m. Wednesday, its customers drew more power than ever before. The company cranked out 18,988 megawatt-hours of electricity, topping the previous high demand of 18,687 megawatts on July 27, 2005.

The Fayetteville Public Works Commission said the municipally owned utility hit a record demand – 476.6 megawatt-hours (MWh) – between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. PWC's previous historical peak electricity use was 474 MWh, also on July 27, 2005.

North Carolina Electric Cooperatives, a network that services 2.5 million customers, most of them in rural areas of the state, hit record usage at 2,967 megawatt hours around 6 p.m. Wednesday. That usage broke the previous record of 2,869 megawatt hours set Jan. 19, 2005, a spokeswoman said.

"It's just brutal out there," said Paul Puzzanghera, who was vacationing from Boston with his wife and daughters in Duck, on the Outer Banks.

They spent the afternoon in a movie theater rather than on the beach, he said.

The continuing heat had public officials, including Gov. Mike Easley, asking residents to suffer a little by pushing up air-conditioning temperatures so that everyone could keep power, avoiding blackouts that could occur if demand outstripped supply.

The Friday forecasts included excessive heat warnings for Raleigh and areas east. In Durham, Chapel Hill and to the west, the weather service issues on heat advisories, a slightly lower-level warning.

Triangle residents were probably in for another day of triple-digit temperatures, though perhaps a few degrees lower than Wednesday and Thursday, the forecasters said.

33 Comments

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  • Sue Donym Aug 10, 2007

    Derrrr, I wish that you would just apologize. You hurt someone's feelings, bottom line. Your opinion of that person's activities or how you imagine she spends her time are immaterial. That was my profile she was posting on, and copying and pasting the comment here was crossing a line.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Aug 10, 2007

    "I am asking for assistance to get the original post as well as the slanderous remarks that were made back to me. I have spent all night worrying and reading others profiles something I hadn't done until you posted mine. I was shocked at the things I did find in them and who the true GOLO friends are. That's all I'm saying because this is off subject which is a no no for the terms of wral."

    If you spent all night worrying about WRAL posts and couldn't sleep because of it, well, I know some professoinal people who could help you out.

  • WHAT THA Aug 10, 2007

    DOWNSTAIRS PART OF THE HOUSE THERMOSTAT SET AT 78. TWO FANS CIRCULATE THE AIR IN A ROUGH CIRCLE THRU THE USED AREA, ON LOW OR MEDIUM SPEED. AT NITE SET AT 79, WITH OVERHEAD AND FLOOR FAN RUNNING. UPSTAIRS AROUND 78/79. BLINDS ARE CLOSED TO INCOMING SUNLITE. BOTH A/C UNITS HAVE BI-YEARLY SERVICE MAINTENANCE CONTRACTS. NOT THE CHEAPEST, BUT KEEPS UNITS OPERATING EFFICIENTLY. FILTERS CHECKED MONTHLY. HAVE TO RAISE INSIDE TEMPS? SO BE IT. WONDER WHAT WOULD BE BLOGGED, IF WE WERE IN IRAQ. POWER/WATER PROBLEMS THEY FACE. OUR TROOPS. PLUS THE PEOPLE IN OUR OWN STATE WHO HAVE NO A/C. I AM VERY BLESS. HOW CAN IT BE A PROBLEM TO CONSERVE/SUFFER A LITTLE WHEN YOU KNOW IT IS NOT GOING TO BE THAT BIG OF A BURDEN TO BEAR, VERSUS PEOPLE WHO HAVE NO A/C AND CANNOT TURN ONE ON AFTER THE SPIKE IN ELECTRICAL USE.

  • mythoughts22 Aug 10, 2007

    i say we take a vacation to Grandfather MT!!!

  • mramorak Aug 10, 2007

    Oh thank goodness we are able to keep all of those 5000 to 10000 square foot homes nice and cool.and the lawns nice and green.Not to mention all the golf courses.

  • ladyblue Aug 10, 2007

    Freedomrings-Bless your heart that is a good caring boss man. I want to thank you for thinking enough of your workers that you would speak up for them. It's nice to know that there are still humans with a heart out there. May God bless and I hope you and your men have a cooler day.

  • ladyblue Aug 10, 2007

    Deeeerrrrr---Since you felt it was your responsibility to put the post and copy and then advise me on something that is not on the subject of heat I will write what I said and then maybe the gossip can stop. I never said the company was engaging in Latino slavery. I said how I THOUGHT the actions of the boss was close to slavery. That is a big difference. I am asking for assistance to get the original post as well as the slanderous remarks that were made back to me. I have spent all night worrying and reading others profiles something I hadn't done until you posted mine. I was shocked at the things I did find in them and who the true GOLO friends are. That's all I'm saying because this is off subject which is a no no for the terms of wral.

  • freedomrings Aug 10, 2007

    I'm an account manager at a landscaping company. I brought in all my crews at 6:00 a.m. rather than 7:00 a.m. so we can finish an hour earlier at 2:30. I spent most of the day delivering gatorade to them. I basically told my landscaping clients that if they had a problem with us being on their property earlier to get over it. I've had no issues yet, but residents in certain high-end communities flip out over it. Thank God they're not my properties.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Aug 10, 2007

    I think if you would have posted that the boss was horrible for not allowing his people a break it would have been ok. But posting that they engage in latino slavery is a TAD much, don't you think? And who cares if someone doesn't take 1 minute to create a GOLO profile? It's not like it's an exclusive club.

  • Derrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Aug 10, 2007

    "You can't handle the truth accused me of slandering a company and then reported me. One of go panthers friends stuck up for me. When wral deleted my 3 posts they must of deleted his as well. I think they show favoritism I don't care what Blogs they write. I didn't even get to read it. I was expressing an opinion just like anyone else. I used the roofing company name but I have read comments before when they are talking about names of place. I'm just getting tired of the forums. These people who talk so ugly aren't GOLO members. They should of written that man of his behavior, but they left his up calling ladyblue stupid, ignorant, loudmouth. It was only when one of my friends reported it that it got removed. It's a lot been going on with wral lately that I've not liked.
    Click to view my profile ladyblue"

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