Dangerous heat likely ahead of cold front; storms possible Tuesday afternoon

Posted July 21, 2015 7:20 a.m. EDT
Updated July 21, 2015 10:50 a.m. EDT

— The bulk of central and eastern North Carolina will see dangerous high temperatures on Tuesday ahead of a cold front that will likely generate afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

High temperatures will climb into the upper 90s across much of the Triangle, and heat index values will be well over 100 degrees in many places all afternoon, WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said.

"We're starting the day warm and we'll climb quickly through the 80s and into the 90s by mid-to late morning," she said. "A heat advisory goes into effect at 1 p.m., and it includes all of our counties from about Raleigh east."

Areas within the advisory could see heat index values reach 105 degrees by mid-afternoon, but even areas west of the advisory could see feel-like temperatures hit 100 to 101 degrees.

By 3 p.m., the daytime heating will help generate showers and thunderstorms ahead of an approaching front.

Widespread severe weather isn't expected, but Tuesday's storms could include heavy rain, frequent lightning and strong winds.

"Storms should start to wind down by sunset tonight, and that will allow somewhat cooler air to filter into the region behind our front," Gardner said.

Temperatures will be in the 80s throughout the bulk of the day Wednesday, and highs will reach about 90 degrees. Highs on Thursday and Friday could top out in the upper 80s, and overnight lows will be in the upper 60s and low 70s for the next several days.

"We'll see a noticeable humidity drop after our front moves through, so we will get to enjoy a little break from the intense heat and humidity if we can make it through Tuesday," Gardner said.