It’s going to be hot during the week ahead, with heat indices across southeastern North Carolina expected to be over 100 degrees through Friday. The sweltering days and nights are due to a large area of high pressure sitting over the southern United States.
“We’re forecasting the heat index to exceed 105 degrees each day,” said Josh Weiss, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service’s Wilmington office. “With that, we expect to be issuing heat advisories.”
The heat index, which is how the outside air feels to your body, is a combination of the actual temperature plus the level of humidity. Temperatures in the region are expected to be in the 90s all week.
“Your body reacts to the heat index more than to the temperature,” Weiss said. “Temperatures are running five to eight degrees above normal this week, and humidity is also higher than normal, so that’s what’s driving the index up.”
Records are not kept for heat indices, so Weiss said it’s hard to say what’s normal for this time of the year. What the numbers help determine, however, is whether the NWS has to issue heat advisories to signal a high risk for heat stroke and other weather-induced illnesses. According to Weiss, heat advisories are announced when the heat index value is expected to rise to 105 degrees or above for two or more hours. One has already been issued for 2 to 7 p.m. today, and more are expected this week.
Weiss said the best thing for citizens to do is avoid being outside if possible.
“If you do need to be outside, try to complete your work early in the day or late in the evening when it’s cooler,” Weiss advised. “Drink plenty of water. Take lots of breaks in the shade. Go inside for air conditioning.”
For those looking to cool off in the water, Weiss said it will be better but still recommends the same precautions.
“It will be a little bit cooler at the beach, but it will still be very hot,” Weiss said. “Heat affects everyone the same, whether you’re a local or a visitor at the beach. Hydration is important.”