Record set for 90-degree days; drought 'likely to worsen'

Posted September 16, 2010 10:53 a.m. EDT
Updated September 16, 2010 6:11 p.m. EDT

— The temperature reached 90 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport just before 1 p.m. Thursday. This year set the record for the most 90-degree days in a single year. Meanwhile, a new report says North Carolina's drought conditions "are likely to worsen over coming weeks and months."

The previous record for 90-degree days was set in 2007 when RDU reported 83 days of the hot temperatures. Thursday marked 84 days this year.

"Prior to 2007, the highest number of days in a year that temperatures rose 90 degrees or higher was 72," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel.

However, two of the last four years, temperatures have risen past the 90-degree mark more than 80 days in the Triangle, Fishel added.

This year is on track to be the warmest on record. The government's latest statistics, covering January through August, show 2010 is tied with 1998 as the hottest year.

The world's average temperature for the first eight months of this year was 58.5 degrees Fahrenheit. That's 1.2 degrees above average for the period.

The most recent Drought Monitor released by the North Carolina Drought Advisory Board expanded the moderate drought conditions into the central part of the state and also "shows the return of severe drought conditions just northeast of the Triangle," according to Jeff Orrock, with the National Weather Service in Raleigh.

"Due to the lack of forecast rainfall and dry seasonal outlooks drought conditions are likely to worsen over coming weeks and months," he said.

As of Wednesday, "we are 7.5 inches below normal rainfall for the year," said WRAL meteorologist Nate Johnson. "September is normally one of the wetter months of the year."