A heat wave is bringing sweltering temperatures to most of North Carolina, with highs in the upper 90s this week.
"Normally we don't see these heat indices until, you know, July. So it's starting a little early already," said
Dave Loewenthal, a forecaster with the National Weather Service in Wilmington.
Loewenthal said residents of Central and Eastern North Carolina can expect heat advisories Tuesday and Wednesday. He says it's early in the year for days to be this hot.
"Once your heat index gets over a hundred, that's really tough on the body," he said, pointing to the cumulative effects of heat exposure and dehydration.
The North Carolina Department of Public Safety's ReadyNC website warns, "In extreme heat and high humidity, water evaporation is slowed and the body must work extra hard to keep a normal temperature." Ongoing exposure can lead to cramps, heat exhaustion, and even heat stroke, which can cause brain damage.
The Red Cross urges residents to make sure families and pets are hydrated, and to stay out of the heat as much as possible during midday. It also recommends making a plan in case of a power outage, which become more common during heat waves because of the increased pressure air conditioners put on the electric grid.