The heat, along with a ridge of high pressure and some moisture in the atmosphere, could be enough to create a few thunderstorms late Wednesday, Fishel said. The few that develop could become quite potent with large hail, damaging winds, heavy rainfall and frequent cloud-to -ground lightning expected out of the severe cells.
That chance is only slight, however, and should be over by about 10 p.m., according to the National Weather Service. In most areas of the Triangle, Wednesday night will be muggy and warm – the three summertime Hs of hot, humid and hazy.
Dangerous heat moves in over the next few days, with highs in the 90s and overnight lows only dipping to the low 70s, Fishel said. The heat index could reach 100 each day.
The intermediate forecast offers no relief. Dangerous heat remains through the weekend and into next week, with heat index values in the 104- to 107-degree range and no cooling rain in sight.
Stifling heat decreases air quality, and will bring the first Ozone Action Day of the season. The North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources issued a "Code Orange" alert for Thursday in the Triangle, the Triad, Charlotte and Rocky Mount.
Those with chronic breathing problems or people who are sensitive to air pollution may find it harder to breathe, especially in the afternoon, when ozone levels in the air peak.
Anyone who needs to be outdoors should take precautions in the heat. The National Weather Service advises drinking plenty of water, wearing light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and taking frequent breaks from work or exercise.