Turning up the heat
Published 1:16 am Thursday, July 21, 2011
Triple-digit temps expected in the area during next few days
Eastern North Carolina should brace itself for a threatening heat wave during the next several days, said a meteorologist with the National Weather Service’s office in Newport.
“We’re going to see dangerous heat during the next few days,” said John Elardo, one of several NWS meteorologists who were reviewing data related to the heat wave Wednesday afternoon.
Elardo said the combination of a high-pressure system over the Atlantic ridges and a low-pressure system over central North Carolina are the main culprits behind the heat wave.
“We have a large high-pressure system in the upper levels of the atmosphere. They tend to produce very hot temperatures in the summertime,” Elardo said, adding that heat ridges associated with the low-pressure system are being forced to the east, where they are colliding with moisture being directed to the coast by the high-pressure system. Those collisions are the reason for such high humidity over eastern North Carolina, Elardo said.
“We expect those conditions to persist through the weekend,” he said.
Elardo called for some areas in eastern North Carolina to reach triple-digit temperatures today, with even more areas reaching triple-digit temperatures Friday.
A weak cold front moving into the area early next week could bring some relief from the high temperatures and high humidity, he said.
In Beaufort County today, the high is forecast to be about 97 degrees, with heat-index values as high as 109 degrees. Forecasters are calling for a 20 percent chance of late afternoon or evening thunderstorms. Late Wednesday afternoon, NWS forecasters issued a heat advisory, warning of heat-index values ranging from 105 degrees to 109 degrees for eastern North Carolina today.
For now, the excessive heat is not resulting in record use of electricity by Washington Electric Utilities customers as they try to stay cool, said Keith Hardt, WEU director, on Wednesday.
“Right now, we’re OK,” Hardt said.
The story is the same with Tideland Electric Membership Corp., according to Tideland spokeswoman Heidi Jernigan Smith.
“Everything’s good at Tideland,” Smith said Wednesday afternoon.
To help beat the heat and minimize electric bill increases, Hardt offered the following tips:
- Keep thermostats set at 78 degrees;
- Use ceiling fans and box fans to help move air-conditioned air through a house or business;
- Make sure windows and doors are closed and that cold air is not escaping through those windows and doors.