'Run-of-the-mill' summer heat sizzles NC

Posted July 3, 2012 5:55 a.m. EDT
Updated July 3, 2012 1:33 p.m. EDT

— Record-setting, triple-digit heat is over, but sizzling summer weather will continue to dominate in North Carolina this week.

"Don't think we're out of the woods in terms of the heat," WRAL meteorologist Elizabeth Gardner said. "We are just going to stay stuck in our hot pattern."

Starting Tuesday, a high of 97 degrees is predicted for the next three days, and the heat index is still likely to top 100 degrees.

"Today's just going to be a run-of-the-mill summer day," Gardner said. "Temperatures are going to be hot, in the mid and upper 90s. There's a slim chance of a thunderstorm."

That chance that any particular location will get hit with one of the isolated storms is small, but "that said, any storms that do pop up have the potential to produce some damaging winds or some large hail," she said.

A Code Orange alert for central counties means that ozone layers are high enough to make the air unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as people with respiratory problems, children and the elderly. They should avoid prolonged activity outdoors.

Similar conditions will prevail on the Fourth of July – a high around 97 degrees and a small chance of isolated, severe storms. Around 9 p.m. when most fireworks go off, temperatures will be in the low 80s, though it will still be muggy.

"Right now, it looks like we should be OK for fireworks," Gardner said. "There might be an isolated storm, but we don't have a big cold front or anything coming through where we know we might have issues."

The hot, unstable air mass will hang around the rest of the week, keeping the possibility of scattered, severe storms alive and temperatures in the mid to upper 90s.

The average daily high for this time of year is 90 degrees.

"We're just going to put it on autopilot and cruise through this heat. Do whatever you can to stay cool," Gardner said.