High temperatures reached the upper 90s Tuesday afternoon in the Triangle – Raleigh hit 99 degrees for the third straight day – while Fayetteville and Erwin hit 100, WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel said. High humidity levels made it feel like it was well over 100 degrees outside, he said.
The steamy conditions make spotty storms possible. The chance for storms was only slight Tuesday, but would increase later in the week, Fishel said.
Still, the heat didn't stop several people from renting paddle boats and cruising around the pond at Pullen Park.
"This hot weather is going to go away, and we'll have a beautiful fall and a mild winter and a beautiful spring. That's why we're here," said Budd Radovich, who recently moved to the Triangle from Florida.
"It's summer. It's North Carolina. It's typical," Eileen Stott said.
Veronda Edwards and her class of youngsters from the Growing Years day care center crowded under an umbrella at the park.
"(We're trying) to keep the sun off. There's not enough shade," Edwards said.
Health experts advised people who are outside for extended periods to drink plenty of liquids and to schedule their activities for the morning or evening to avoid the brunt of the afternoon heat.
At the Mission Valley 66 service station on Western Boulevard, mechanic Mitch Freeman said the heat was keeping him busy. Hot weather can cause a car battery to fail and create other automotive problems.
"You just need to keep an eye on coolant and stuff and keep an eye on air pressure," Freeman said. "It builds up in your tire, and if you have a really worn-out tire, the tire is going to blow out, and you're stuck again."
A cold front moving in from the west will likely make the extreme heat go away as early as Wednesday, WRAL meteorologist Kim Deaner said. Until then, "we don't have much in the way of anything to talk about across North Carolina other than sunshine and heat."
Temperatures Wednesday will top out in the upper 80s, and highs Thursday will be in the mid-80s, she said.
The front also will bring cloudy skies and a good chance for showers and thunderstorms across the state on Wednesday and Thursday, Deaner said.
"We've got a lot of moisture in the atmosphere to work with," she said, noting some areas could see more than an inch of rain.