Heat streak to continue through weekend

Posted July 20, 2011 6:57 a.m. EDT
Updated July 20, 2011 9:46 p.m. EDT

— The heat wave that has scorched the middle of the country is heading east, bringing scattered showers and thunderstorms into central North Carolina Wednesday afternoon and evening.

Heat advisories, which mean that humidity will make temperatures feel like 105 to 110 degrees for at least three hours, were in effect Wednesday for much of central North Carolina. Those advisories kick in again at noon on Thursday.

The high hit 100 degrees at Raleigh-Durham International Airport Wednesday afternoon.

"This may be only the beginning of an extended period of excruciating heat and humidity around here that will carry us forward well into the weekend," said WRAL Chief Meteorologist Greg Fishel. 

The National Weather Service predicts that, by Friday, it will feel hotter than 110 degrees in Raleigh and 107 or above in Greensboro and Charlotte.

The sticky weather also means nighttime lows may hover around 80, offering little relief. 

After a 100-degree weekend, scorching temperatures are expected to stick around through next week.

The increase in mercury can be dangerous, especially for the elderly. Doctors say that's because older people have less water in their bodies, making it more difficult to sense temperature changes and thirst. 

People who are battling chronic illness or upper respiratory ailments may also be more likely to wind up hospitalized when temperatures creep toward the century mark, emergency room doctors say.

Heat-related illness and injuries doubled this week over the same week last year at WakeMed in Raleigh. 

That's why deputies with the Wake County Sheriff's Office make wellness checks on the elderly everyday. 

On Wednesday, deputies said they called all 75 people on their wellness check list twice, just to be safe.