Spring heat wave continues

Posted June 1, 2011
Updated June 2, 2011

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— Summer is still nearly three weeks away, but that's not stopping Mother Nature from spreading oppressive summertime heat over much of central North Carolina.

Thursday's high is predicted to hit 93 degrees under a cloudless sky.

That's a day after temperatures soared to 95 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport and 96 degrees in Fayetteville. Meanwhile, the heat index made it feel as it were 102 degrees in Raleigh, 101 degrees in Chapel Hill and Fayetteville and the upper 90s in other parts of the area, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said.

And there's no end in sight.

The WRAL WeatherCenter's seven-day forecast has temperatures remaining in the 90s through the weekend, with one exception.

A front moving through the area could offer a bit of relief, dropping the temperatures just a bit toward the end of the work week.

"On Friday, the temperature and humidity will come down, and a high of 87 could actually feel pretty decent before the heat comes roaring back over the weekend," Fishel said. "Temperatures on Sunday will be as hot they were today, if not hotter."

Local utilities reported average power usage from customers but advised customers to start conserving energy to prevent any problems meeting demand and to help save on utility bills.

Health officials warned people to stay hydrated with water and to stay inside, if possible, and to limit any outdoor activities to the early morning or evening.

Rick Weeks, of Joe’s Heating and AC, was answering calls on Wednesday to prepare air conditioning units for the hot weather.

It is the “typical beginning of the season jitters that we see every year. Same old, same old every year,” Weeks said.

He said he was mainly seeing problems from dirty air filters and delayed maintenance.

“We haven’t really got into the meat of the season where things are going to break down,” Weeks said.

Students at Greenwood Elementary in Raleigh had to sweat through classes for part of Wednesday after the air conditioning unit there broke.

Authorities said 12,000 people in Raleigh lost power and air conditioning when a tree fell on a power pole. 

Workers at Children's Discovery Center said they kept a close eye on the thermostat to see if they'd have to close down.

“We had to go to each classroom and let them know what was going on, see what the temperature was,” Children’s Discovery Center Director Anne Caspar said. “You have to keep the room between 68 and 71 (degrees).”

Many of the children napped through the power outage and the air conditioning came back on just in time to avoid an early release.

AC unit maintenance important before summer heat AC unit maintenance important before summer

Wake County announced its White Flag Network service Wednesday, in which local businesses hang white flags to indicate that they are offering heat relief to the homeless, allowing them to be inside out of the hot sun when the heat index rises above 101 degrees.

Still, some can't stop for the heat.

In Morrisville, firefighters spent most of the day battling the heat while also trying to put out a house fire at 414 Church St., where flames reached anywhere from 500 to 1,000 degrees.

There were no reports of injuries from the fire, but two Cary firefighters who were injured were in stable condition Wednesday evening, and one Morrisville firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.

No one was home at the time of the fire, Morrisville town administrators said.

More than 40 firefighters from four local fire departments were at the scene, rotating in and out of the fire in 10-minute increments. Wake County EMS set up a cooling station to rehydrate firefighters and to check their vital signs.

There was nothing alluring about the Carolina sky over Fayetteville, where the stifling air was hazy. Temperatures there were expected to be the highest in the state Wednesday, with the high flirting with the 100-degree mark.

The Cumberland County Department of Social Services started distributing fans to some residents without air conditioning or those with heat-sensitive medical conditions.

Donations were being accepted at the department at 1225 Ramsey Street or by calling 910-677-2388.

Residents in Fayetteville said they expect heat waves in August but can't remember in recent years such hot weather in the spring.


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  • snowmentality Jun 2, 2011

    sckinton60, actually, you're right. You can check historical weather data at The '60s and '70s mostly had max temps below 100 F, and 90th percentile (basically, spring/early summer) temps at or below 80 F. The '50s were hotter, similar to the '80s through now -- more max temps above 100, 90th percentile temps all at or above 80. (Weather data only goes back to 1948.) So the '60s and '70s really were cooler here.

  • monkeyboy Jun 2, 2011

    "Another scorcher on tap for Wednesday"

    that's one heckuva timely title there, wral. you know, being that it's thursday now and all...

  • mmtlash Jun 2, 2011

    It's not that it's necessarily hotter now then it was years ago around here, I think part of it is that folks are so used to a/c nowadays that the heat seems to be harder on them then in years past...

  • Dixiecrat Jun 2, 2011

    It's the south. We get these high pressure systems that just sit and cook us. Lived here all my life and it's been that way as long as I can remember. I notice it more now just because of the concrete and asphalt urban sprawl that now dominates this area. Growing up we didn't have to use AC much because we lived on a wooded lot, and the shade from the trees kept your house temperature comfortable. And yes we were in a subdivision. Now developers just completely clear all vegetation from a development and build houses within spittin' distance from each other. All concrete, brick, asphalt, tiny grass yards, and small trees that are years away from maturing. No wonder it feels hot.

  • sillywabbitthepatriot Jun 2, 2011

    The whole US is hot.

  • kikinc Jun 2, 2011

    Depending on where you are up north, the heat and humidity are just as miserable, it just doesn't last as long. In some ways, it might even be worse up there. AC isn't as widespread. I remember going to school on 100 degree days....and there was NO AC in the schools. As hot and sticky as it is here, I'll take it. AC cools me right down.

  • Bring on the 4 Dollar Gas Jun 2, 2011

    Get it corect, there's nothing 'Spring' about any of this. Every year it's the same garbage, right from a tad of winter as we blaze right into steamy summer. No change expected until November. Enjoy your baking.

  • hunter38 Jun 1, 2011

    Im Alaska bound... maybe I can get a job on a crab boat and cool off a bit.

  • cheezchicken Jun 1, 2011

    If I had my way I'd live in Iceland. As it is, I have one more year in the south- then I'm moving north. Until then, ALL AC is turned as high as I can get away with.

  • keepin_it_real_is_a_liberal Jun 1, 2011

    I blame Rush and Beck for all the hot air.