NC Weather: Heat advisory issued for third straight day, cooling over the weekend

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Saturday, July 30, 2022

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- It is going to be hot once again Friday. Feels-like temperatures could reach as high as 110 in some areas.

A heat advisory is in effect from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. for most of central North Carolina, with high heat and humidity once again increasing the risk of heat illnesses.

Conditions will be mainly dry through late this afternoon. We're in for a rather humid day with highs reaching the mid and upper 90s. Most storms should hold off until after 4-5 p.m. Scattered shower and storm chances will gradually increase tonight.

There is good news and bad news when it comes to weather this weekend. Temperatures will finally go down, but our chances of storms will go up. We can expect increasing clouds with mainly afternoon showers and thunderstorms on Saturday. There is a chance that rain and storms hold off for the Triangle during the day with more activity father south over the Sandhills. If this drier trend holds, highs will be closer to 90.

NC summer feels 'even warmer' in Raleigh urban heat islands

For Raleigh resident Roger Wilkerson, a transformer in the Method community outside had another purpose on Thursday.

"Because it's cooler and I'm in the shade," Wilkerson said, sitting on the transformer with his cane propped beside him.

Wilkerson, who was taking a walk for his health, took a break on the hot summer day.

"I normally walk around the block because I just had a stroke last year," Wilkerson said. "I'd normally be inside. If they had more shade, or trees out here, would make it cooler."

Fayetteville FD breaks down its safety precautions for firefighters in sweltering summer heat

Fayetteville's Fire Department is taking special precautions to protect firefighters from the sweltering temperatures during the ongoing heat waves this summer. The department's Captain Stephen Shakeshaft explains that having an abundance of equipment and manpower is key to keeping crews safe while battling fires.

"Anytime we're experiencing an extreme heat wave we make sure to send extra resources to calls that may require extra breaks. So whether it's a structure fire or an outside woods fire, we have a set amount of resources we send to those calls," said Shakeshaft. "That way, folks get the extra break that they need to stay hydrated and stay cool."

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 seen 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.