State News

North Carolina Set to Sweat

Posted August 5, 2007 4:47 p.m. EDT
Updated August 7, 2007 12:55 p.m. EDT

— The word is out – North Carolina should be set to sweat this week.

The National Weather Service says temperatures are expected to climb into the high 90s through the week. There's no chance of a cool down or break in temperatures expected.

Meteorologist Jonathan Blaes with the National Weather Service says the coming week will be the hottest of the summer, but he adds that it's not unusual for August.

Raleigh recorded a high temperature of 96 degrees Monday, and WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said afternoon thunderstorms helped keep the temperature down.

Chapel Hill's high temperature hit 98, while Fayetteville and other locations south of the Triangle topped 100. When combined with high humidity, Raleigh and Fayetteville recorded heat indices of 107.

Heat indices across the region could top 110 on Tuesday, or especially Wednesday, Fishel said. That would prompt excessive heat warnings.

"We're sort of making that transition from heat that is annoying to heat that is dangerous," Fishel said.

An excessive heat advisory was issued Monday for several counties east of Interstate 95 between Manteo and Jacksonville, and a heat advisory was in place for the southern North Carolina coast near Wilmington.

The Cumberland County Department of Social Services plans to make space available in the DSS offices on Ramsey Street for those people most likely to suffer heat-related distress, such as people with respiratory illness, mothers with young children, and elderly and disabled people without air conditioning or the ability to stay cool.

People can stay in the DSS offices from noon to 6 p.m. every day through Friday, officials said.

If the heat isn't a problem, the air likely could be, officials said.

A Code Orange ozone alert was issued for the Triangle, the Triad, Charlotte and Hickory for Monday and Tuesday. That means ground level ozone concentrations within the region may approach or exceed unhealthy standards.

Ozone, a highly reactive form of oxygen, can be unhealthy to breathe, damage plants and reduce crop yields. High ozone levels generally occur on hot sunny days with stagnant air, when pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and hydrocarbons react in the lower atmosphere.

People who are sensitive to air pollution should avoid moderate exertion outdoors in the afternoon, according to health experts. Sensitive groups include children who are active outside, people who work or exercise outdoors and those with heart conditions and respiratory ailments like asthma, bronchitis and emphysema.