CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - When it comes to weather, there's something magical about the number "90". Most people can tolerate heat up to that point on the thermometer, but much above that critical number gets folks talking…and they're sure talking these days!
So, while we're on the subject, it seems highly unlikely that the current heat wave gripping the WBTV viewing area, and the Carolinas beyond, will be ending any time soon.
Tuesday marked the sixth consecutive day with high temperatures of at least 90°, and two straight days of record-breaking weather.
With a massive ridge of high pressure locked in over the interior Southeast, we're likely to continue with afternoon readings into the 90s through the end of the month and into early July. The technical definition of a "heat wave" is three straight days of 90° plus heat. There's potential the current heat wave could linger for three weeks…if not longer!
If you're wondering, Charlotte averages 35 "90°+ days" each summer season and did so 37 times in 2014. The record number of 88 days 90° or above (set in 1954) was seriously challenged just a few years back, when Charlotte reached that threshold 87 times. You may remember, it was a long, hot summer!
Regarding the record for consecutive days of 90° or above, that dates back to the summer of 1993 - my first in Charlotte after several years forecasting weather is South Florida – when the mercury kissed 90° or better 33 straight days from June 28th all the way through July 30th. It was brutal, making me wonder more than once, "where have I moved to?"
Back to the current pattern, while the heat is rough on its own, what's worse is that it has teamed up with the existing dry pattern that kicked in during the month of May. Well-below average rainfall has now moved into June and so lawns and gardens without the benefit of irrigation are burning up all across the region, while Texas and states to our west are saturated and soaked beyond what they can handle.
Rain chance does look to increase, if only a little bit, over the next few days, but widespread rain is clearly not in the forecast.
In the meantime, do your best to keep cool and hydrated and keep a watchful eye on your family and neighbors - especially kids and the elderly – so that everyone, including pets – stay safe through this sweltering heat wave that shows no clear sign of breaking down anytime soon.