'Tolerable heat wave' hits Triangle

Posted July 5, 2010

— Scorching heat returned to central North Carolina Monday, and the first full week of July kicked off with increasingly hot temperatures that could reach 100 degrees by Wednesday.

"That sunshine is going to be brutal for us over the next few days," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

The heat wave stretched from the Triangle northward through the mid-Atlantic and into the Northeast. Raleigh's high temperature was 96 degrees on Monday, while New York and Washington, D.C., hit 98 and Frederick, Md., topped out at 102.

Some Raleigh residents decided to head to Lake Wheeler early Monday to enjoy a belated July 4th holiday before it got to be too hot.

"I figured, before the heat wave comes back, we're going to come out here early," said Nancy Kulesza, who went fishing at the lake at 6 a.m. "We thought we'd go fishing in the shade."

WRAL Weather team WRAL WeatherCenter Forecast

WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said the dry air that created a pleasant weekend across the region remains in place, and the low humidity levels will create "a tolerable heat wave" over the next few days.

"Remember the last heat wave we had, how nasty it was?" Maze said. "Well, this heat wave is not going to feel quite so bad."

Still, the air is expected to get stale quickly.

The state Division of Air Quality issued a Code Orange ozone alert across much of the Triangle on Tuesday. Counties covered by the alert include Chatham, Durham, Edgecombe, Franklin, Granville, Johnston, Nash, Orange, Person, Vance and Wake counties.

Forecasts call for temperatures to hit 98 degrees on Tuesday and 100 on Wednesday before dropping back to the low 90s by the end of the week, when an offshore low-pressure system could bring some much needed rain to North Carolina.

Until then, Gardner said, a high-pressure system over the region "is going to act like a lid" and prevent any afternoon thunderstorms.

"One, it's going to dry us out, and two, we don't get any chance to cool off," she said. "It's just going to bake."

The hot, dry weather will tax area lawns and flower beds. Several area cities, including Raleigh and Cary, have year-round water restrictions in place, preventing residents from using sprinklers more than three days a week.

Johnston County recently issued a water shortage advisory because its distribution system couldn't keep up with demand for water. The advisory asked people to refrain from outdoor irrigation and washing cars.

"It's been really dry, dry and dusty. The grass is not growing much," said Owen Perry, who added that he has more brown spots on his lawn than he would like.

"I'm kind of watching (Raleigh's) limits and requirements on water," Julia Eaton said. "We can barely use water, but when we get the chance, we do (water) because everything's dying."

"As long as we can come out to the lake, I am not worried about the grass," Greg Bloom said as he prepared to go boating on Lake Wheeler.


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  • Big Mike Jul 5, 2010

    Heat or cold?.....I'll take heat! I spent half a year in the winter cold of Europe and a year in the heat of SE least in the heat I had a pulse...ha!...Key to heat survival....HYDRATE!

  • archmaker Jul 5, 2010

    Hot, dry weather will tax area lawns and flower beds and send people in search of relief over the coming days.

    i have nothing but weeds - does that mean i get a tax exemption?

  • ckblackm Jul 5, 2010

    Darn this global cooling is tough!

  • lauraleigh Jul 5, 2010

    Eh - it's been nice while it lasted. Welcome to July in NC, folks!

  • zadonahue Jul 5, 2010

    I love how the headline says temps may reach 99 right next to the graphic with the forecast showing a high of 100 Wednesday. Editors off today?

  • Supie Jul 5, 2010

    I love Raleigh's long and perfect autumn and spring temps.

  • nandud Jul 5, 2010

    Already tired of summer.....

  • sinenomine Jul 5, 2010

    Heat and humidity? I'm used to it having lived for many years in Washington DC.

    Washington is that way because the city is built on a swamp (both morally and physically some would argue); what's Raleigh's excuse?

  • PanthersFan45 Jul 5, 2010

    Crank it up baby, or should I say "Bring it on" ..... it's summertime so I always expect 1 or 2 of these heatwaves anyway.

  • Sophie Lowe Jul 5, 2010

    Global Warming! Global Warming! Global Warming! LOL