Weather

Heat-fueled storms pass through central NC

Posted July 13, 2011 5:27 a.m. EDT
Updated July 14, 2011 6:33 a.m. EDT

— After record-setting temperatures on Tuesday, the Triangle fell just short of reaching 100 degrees on Wednesday afternoon. With the extreme heat and humidity, showers and thunderstorms were also rolling into the area.

Afternoon storms brought quarter-sized hail, heavy rain, damaging wind gusts and cloud-to-ground lightning to several counties in the WRAL viewing area, said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

Granville County resident Tim Chitsey returned home Wednesday to find that a tree had smashed in his roof and wall on Brooks Bend Road.

"The tree is obviously punctured through the room, so we have drywall that is broken up (and) water that is leaking in," he said.

Cold front coming

A cold front is expected to pass through the region Wednesday evening, bringing some relief after two days of sweltering heat and humidity.

"It's still going to be on the muggy side this evening with these showers and thunderstorms and then once the front passes, we'll get into a much quieter air mass later tonight and into tomorrow," Fishel said.

High temperatures for the rest of the week are expected to stay in the mid to high 80s.

On Tuesday, the mercury in the Triangle climbed to 100 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport, beating the 1986 record of 99 degrees to set a record for the date. Heat indexes in central North Carolina ranged from 105 to 112 degrees. 

Cooks, campers try to stay cool

Cooks at a Char-Grill restaurant in Raleigh spent Wednesday bent over a 500-degree grill. Cashiers working the counter were also roasting, as 100-degree heat blasted in whenever they opened the window to take an order. 

"It's hotter than it is outside," said manager Phil Gorski. "We look forward to when we need to go fill up the milkshake machine or something, because you get to go stand in the cooler for a minute. You sort of take your time grabbing those milkshake bottles.

At Camp Kanata, near Wake Forest, in just one week in the great outdoors, students grew accustomed to the blistering heat.

"It honestly doesn't even bother me anymore, you know, you're out here all the time, you get used to it," said camper Erin Peck. "Just having fun, it's totally worth it."

But camp organizers kept the 220 campers from exerting themselves too much in the extreme temperatures Tuesday and Wednesday, scratching field games and giving campers more time in the lake and the shade.

Beat the heat

In hot, humid weather, WRAL’s Dr. Allen Mask advises people to stay hydrated in order to avoid heat exhaustion. He also suggests people outside wear wide-brimmed hats, sunglasses to protect eyes and loose fitting clothing preferably in white or light colors. 

Mask said people older than 65 and younger than 4 are most at risk for heat-related illnesses because they have more difficulty regulating body temperature. Mask said that certain medications, such as like beta-blockers, diuretics, antihistamines, tranquilizers and anti-psychotics, also impair the body's ability to regulate body temperature. 

Mask said he has already seen cases of heat exhaustion this summer. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include headache, weakness, fatigue and muscle cramps. Heat stroke occurs when body temperature reaches 104 degree or above.

"The body does the best it can to regulate body temperature, sweating as a means to bring core body temperature down," Mask said. "At times, you just need to call a time out (and) take a break."

Heat halts garbage collection in Raleigh

The city of Raleigh suspended waste services collections Wednesday afternoon due to the heat, a city spokeswoman said. Crews will resume normal collection Thursday, beginning with routes that weren't finished Wednesday.