Triangle sets records for long, hot streak

Posted July 8, 2012 2:12 p.m. EDT
Updated July 8, 2012 8:40 p.m. EDT

— Sunday was a record day in the Triangle in more ways than one after the temperature topped out at 105 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport. That was two degrees warmer than the previous mark for July 8 (103, set in 1977) and equal to the all-time highest temperature recorded in the region. It was the sixth triple-digit day in a row, the longest stretch recorded for the area since World War II.

The temperature actually climbed even higher – to 105.8 degrees – but did not sustain that level long enough for official record-keeping. The National Weather Service takes a five-minute average, and the temperature never stayed above 105 for that long. 

Thus far, the Summer of 2012 has seen nine days over the 100-degree mark, tying the nine in all of 2011 and just three shy of the record for a single season (12 in 1999).

The heat and humidity combined for an index that felt like 110-plus for those who had to be outside.

WakeMed reported 38 cases of heat-related illnesses across Wake County over the course of the heat wave, which was being blamed for 35 deaths nationwide.

North Carolina is not alone in enduring summer's blast. Records were dropping from the Midwest to the eastern seaboard. The heat caused highways to buckle in Illinois and Wisconsin, officials said. In Maryland, investigators said heat likely caused rails to kink and led a commuter train to partially derail Friday.

Meteorologists looked for the heat wave to weaken Monday and truly break by mid-week. A cold front moving east will bring both moderated temperatures but also the chance for rain or thunderstorms each day of the work week.