Thick atmosphere sparks air-quality warning, maybe storms

High ozone levels are predicted for the Triangle on Friday. The hot, stagnant atmosphere could also create afternoon and evening thunderstorms.

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Heat; Hot Weather 1
RALEIGH, N.C. — An unstable, moisture-laden atmosphere has prompted an air-quality warning for the Triangle and could spark thunderstorms later Friday.

Temperatures in Raleigh had reached the normal high for the day, 88 degrees, by noon and were predicted to continue to climb to around 94 degrees.

"It is warm and humid," WRAL Meteorologist Mike Maze said. "Later this afternoon, you may encounter a few storms on your way home."

State officials predicted Code Orange conditions in the Triangle, Triad and Charlotte on Friday, meaning that air pollutants will exceed safe levels. High ozone levels, which develop on hot, sunny days with stagnant air, presented the primary danger.

Sensitive groups, including children, the elderly and those with respiratory problems, were being urged to avoid moderate exertion outdoors in the afternoon, when ozone levels are the highest.

Some scattered storms affected the state on Friday. The weekend was expected to bring a more likely chance of rain as a cold front approaches.

"Tomorrow morning, we'll wake up quiet," Maze said. "So if you're heading to the lake to do some early fishing, maybe do a yard sale in the morning, you should be OK."

A cold front coming through on Saturday will bring some relief from the heat. Highs will dip from the low 90s on Saturday into the mid-80s on Sunday.

With that cold front, however, comes a chance for severe weather throughout the weekend, with the greatest likelihood on Sunday.

"As our cold front approaches and our upper-level trough moves on in, the atmosphere will be more unstable and ripe for strong, maybe even severe, storms," Maze said.

WRAL Meteorologist Kim Deaner said the chance of rain will also extend into Monday.


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