NC Weather: Scorching hot temperatures expected again today with storms possible in the afternoon

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Thursday, July 28, 2022
Storms, extreme heat found in central North Carolina
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Storms, extreme heat found in central North Carolina

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Expect another scorcher out there Thursday and Friday. Feels-like temperatures could reach as high as 110 in some areas.

A heat advisory is in effect from noon to 8 p.m. for most of central North Carolina, with high heat and humidity increasing the risk of heat illnesses.

Everybody should drink plenty of water, stay inside when possible and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should also not be left unattended in vehicles or outside.

The hot weather could charge up the atmosphere and destabilize it. That could result in storms in the afternoon.

There's currently a level 1 risk for severe storms in the northern part of the ABC11 viewing area.

Friday will be pretty similar to Thursday. However, a cold front is approaching the area, which could help reduce temperatures a little bit. The day should also remain mostly dry, but there remains a chance for storms late in the day and into the evening.

WATCH: Extreme heat dangers and safety tips

Hotter than usual

Summer in North Carolina is always hot, but this year has been particularly brutal.

Raleigh has already see more 90 degree days in 2022 than the city averages for all of summer. As for 95-degree days, Raleigh has already nearly doubled its annual average.

So far, we're looking at the third-hottest year on record in North Carolina. If this year remains in the top 10 hottest historically, it will mean that the state's 10 hottest years will all have happened in the 21st century.

"This is climate change," State Climatologist Dr. Kathie Dello said.

Heat damaging infrastructure

The excessive and persistent heat can affect existing infrastructure, including roadways.

"Asphalt does get softer as the temperature gets warmer, and that can make asphalt pavements a little more prone to rutting and shoving during warm temperatures like we've been having. It's also sometimes in concrete pavements due to expansion of the concrete, you can get those pavements buckling up a little bit. That's a rare occurrence in North Carolina. It has happened in the past, but we haven't had an occurrence of that in the last several years that I'm aware of," said Clark Morrison, who is the State Pavement Design Engineer for NCDOT.

Morrison said crews using the right asphalt mix can stave off some issues.

"We have a seal-coating process that covers the asphalt and it stops the oxidation process, or slows it down. It seals the crack and it creates a surface between the asphalt and the vehicles that are going over it," noted Mike Stephenson, President of Paving Professionals Inc. in Raleigh, which specializes in commercial properties.

Stephenson said they've seen an uptick in calls this summer, and anticipates that to continue as temperatures remain elevated.

"With the heat, we've had a lot of damage due to heavy vehicles turning, rutting in the asphalt. It's just been very hot. And with the nature of asphalt, there has been more damage," said Stephenson.

The excessive heat can cause asphalt to soften, and eventually, leave it susceptible to cracks or potholes.

OSHA works to create new heat-related work standards

Data shows more than one-third of occupational heat-related deaths in the U.S. were construction workers, from 1992 to 2016.

"Cement masons were 10 times more likely to die from heat than the average construction worker," the study found. "Roofers and helpers were seven times more likely."

OSHA currently doesn't have a specific standard for hazardous heat conditions, but as the agency works to develop it, the N.C. department of labor said it is focusing a significant amount of time on outreach, education and training.

"Here at NCDOL, we are in the process of gathering information which will help our staff determine what solutions make sense for North Carolina," NCDOL said.

OSHA included rulemaking on Heat Illness Prevention in Outdoor and Indoor Work Settings in the pre-rule stage and said they're reviewing the Public Citizen report.

"We have received thousands of comments from stakeholders and employers that will help guide our work in developing an all-encompassing final rule based on the most recently available science and data," OSHA's Doug Parker said. "Rulemaking takes time, and it's critical that we get it right."

European heatwave

North Carolina is not the only place seeing hotter than usual temperatures.

In fact, European countries have been dealing with some of the hottest temperatures ever recorded in their areas.

The United Kingdom shattered its heat record multiple times in mid-July. The previous record high temperature in the UK was 101.7 degrees, but the country reached 104.4 degrees on July 19.

The sweltering weather disrupted travel, health care and schools in a country not prepared for such extremes. A huge chunk of England, from London in the south to Manchester and Leeds in the north, saw the country's first "red" warning for extreme heat -- meaning there is danger of death even for healthy people.

At least six people were reported to have drowned across the U.K. in rivers, lakes and reservoirs while trying to cool off. Nearly 750 heat-related deaths have been reported in Spain and neighboring Portugal in the heat wave there.

"This record temperature is a harbinger of things to come,'' said Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute at the London School of Economics. "The increase in the frequency and intensity of heat waves and other extreme weather events is the result of climate change, and these impacts will continue to grow" unless the world drastically reduces emissions.