Triple-digit heat hits the Triangle

Posted June 24, 2010

— If there was any doubt before, there's none now: It's definitely summer.

Temperatures hovered around the 100-degree mark Thursday, prompting the National Weather Service to issue a heat advisory and the governor urging caution amid excessive heat.

Fayetteville reported reaching the century mark, while the thermometer at Raleigh-Durham International Airport was 1 degree shy of doing so. Most other areas in the central part of the state also came close.

Heat indices registered temperatures as high as 109 degrees in Fayetteville and as low as 100 degrees in Greensboro.

Slight relief from the heat is forecast for Friday with highs in the mid-90s expected. A cool front moving north and west will lessen the heat for the weekend, and temperatures could drop below the mid-80s by next Thursday.

Heat, hot temperatures Heat health tips

"We are now on pace to have this be the warmest June on record, going all the way back to World War II – assuming the next six days are anywhere close to what we're forecasting," WRAL chief meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

The brutal temperatures had state officials, including Gov. Bev Perdue, urging people to stay inside, if at all possible, and take things easy to help avoid heat-related illnesses.

"We are just starting the summer vacation season, and we all need to make sure we take precautions to avoid heat-related health problems,” Perdue said. “This is particularly important for the elderly, those with physical or medical conditions that are sensitive to high temperatures and young children."

Meals on Wheels in Durham handed out more than 30 fans to elderly residents Thursday – and 50 over the past two days. Wake County's Cool for Wake Program reported distributing 81 fans and eight air conditioners to those who qualify.

A Code Orange air-quality alert, meanwhile, remained in effect for much of Central North Carolina, meaning people, especially those with respiratory problems, should limit outdoor activities.

"It really does take a toll on you," said Johnny Whittington, a mail carrier making his rounds in Raleigh Thursday. "Get a good night's sleep, and stay pretty well-rested, because this time of year, it's going to drain you."

With temperatures in the high 70s around sunrise, some Raleigh residents ventured out to exercise on the track at Chavis Park Community Center.

"A lot of people (are) trying to beat the heat," walker Lonetta Raynor said. "You come out before you go to work, get your exercise in. It helps you start your day."

Whittington, who's delivered mail in an un-air-conditioned truck for 17 years, said he can think of worse work for the heat.

"This beats the heck out of working tobacco or in construction, I can tell you that," he said.

Program provides fans for elderly Program provides fans for elderly

The Department of Health and Human Services recommends anyone who must be outside to drink plenty of non-alcoholic, sugar-free fluids to stay hydrated.

Everyone is at risk of heat-related injuries, but infants and children younger than 4, as well as people over 65, those who are excessively overweight and physically ill are most susceptible:

Other recommendations for avoiding heat-related injuries:

  • Don't stay inside a vehicle, and don't leave children or pets – even for a few minutes. Interiors heat up quickly.
  • Don't wait until you're thirsty to drink.
  • If exercising outdoors, drink two to four glasses of water each hour to help replace salt and minerals in the body that are lost in sweat.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing, and use sunscreen of SPF 15, or higher, 30 minutes prior to being outside.
  • Check on older neighbors at least twice a day.
  • Limit outdoor activity to the morning and evening hours if you have to be outside. Have plenty of water on-hand when working in the heat.

Heat cramps, signaled by abdominal, arm and leg cramps, are the first sign of heat injury.

Heat exhaustion, a milder form of heat-related illness, can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate replacement of fluids.

Warning signs include heavy sweating, muscle cramps, dizziness, headaches, cool and moist skin, a fast pulse rate and fast and shallow breathing.

Heat stroke, which can cause injury or death if not treated, occurs when the body's temperature rises rapidly, sweating mechanisms fail and the body can't cool.

Body temperature might rise to 106 degrees or higher rapidly, within 10 to 15 minutes. Warning signs include red, hot, dry skin with no sweating; rapid, strong pulse; throbbing headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion; or unconsciousness.


This story is closed for comments.

Oldest First
View all
  • Leonardo Jun 25, 2010

    Some clarification is needed here: Heat waves are weather. Global warming is climate. You cannot link any particular weather event to global warming. You can only make statistical statements that heat waves will be more likely in the future. But you'll never be able to definitively say that any single weather event was caused by global warming. Even the extreme heat they're having in the Middle East and Africa right now (all time high temperature records for several countries have been shattered...125+ degrees reported in several countries, and we're not even in the hottest part of summer yet) cannot be definitively attributed to G.W., although it's PROBABLY contributing to the severity.

    On the other hand, melting glaciers and rising sea levels ARE measures of climate, and can be attributed to global warming.

  • NoFreakinWay Jun 24, 2010

    hovering around 100 is not hitting 100. did we HIT 100 today?
    only 4 more months of ridiculous weather.
    then we can go back to over anxious winter weather forecasts that never materialize! YEAH!

  • Plenty Coups Jun 24, 2010

    NC Pictures-"Actually I believe it is YOU that is looking through your preconcieved (sic) worldview. It has not been discredited. I suggest you look at"

    This is the biggest piece of laughable propaganda I have ever read. What's not laughable is that apparently you and others actually believe it. With such notable signatures by people such as Michael J. Fox,the Spice girl "Dr. Geraldine Halliwell, and the made up lawyer Perry Mason this is surely a joke. Of those supposed 31,000 signatures, only a few had anything to do with climate science. Of those, a number said their position was misrepresented. It doesn't stand up to a 4th grade level scrutiny let alone the scientific community scrutiny.
    Read these for more credible sources:

  • geosol Jun 24, 2010

    You just can't trust those greedy, money-grubbing scientists!!! But you surely can trust those wonderful oil and coal companies to always tell us the truth. They give lot's of money to my party, so its OK to let them do whatever they want.

  • jeff27577 Jun 24, 2010

    dont forget about your pest control technicians also. they are out in the heat and sometimes going in your attics!!

  • Plenty Coups Jun 24, 2010

    Here's the source for the 97% of climatologists agree in man made global warming:

  • Plenty Coups Jun 24, 2010

    NC Pictures- You promote the founders of Greenpeace and the Weather Channel as somehow giving credence to your argument that there is no global warming. Big deal! What qualifications do they have that would overrule the fact that 97% of climatologists agree there is man made global warming. Thats 97% of the actual scientists who study climate. You can't disprove that by getting people with doctorates in Physics or the local TV weatherman to sign some meaningless petition.

  • Plenty Coups Jun 24, 2010

    NC Pictures-"Study away! I never said anything to the contrary! But as we stand right now, we know squat about how this Earth runs. And to assume otherwise is downright arrogant."

    We do understand somethings, not everything-thats what science has given us. You would seem to throw out credible science when it disagrees with your political philosophy. Are you seriously still going to try and cite bogus petitions that aren't even by climate or even earth scientists to justify your position? I'll go head to head with you using science and actual scientists anytime. You can continue to use Rush Limbaugh quacks to try and express doubt.

  • NCPictures Jun 24, 2010

    "NCPictures, you know, if you are going to mock the way someone spells something, it would help if you knew the difference between site and cite....Just sayin'." ---- rescuefan

    Ummmmmm What are you talking about???? I didnt mock anyone, and I completely plead guilty of being the worst typist on the planet, and no I dont proof read like I should. But what does this have to do with the discussion?

  • Tacoma4x4 Jun 24, 2010

    I have a humidity reading of 22% and a temp of 98, and they are forecasting a 40% chance of rain....I don't think so... WRAL yes I get the idea it is HOT! Please ease up on the endless reminding headlines..