Keep dry this 4th of July: Thunderstorm threat rises for Charlotte area

Abnormally high temperatures and humidity are expected over the July Fourth holiday in the Charlotte area, while the threat of thunderstorms on Thursday continues to rise, according to the National Weather Service.

The chance of thunderstorms at Charlotte Douglas International Airport on Thursday stands at 50 percent, according to the latest forecast by the National Weather Service in Greer, S.C., issued just before noon Tuesday. Last weekend, NWS meteorologists predicted only a 30 percent chance of precipitation on the 4th.

Highs throughout the week are still expected to hover in the mid- to high 90s, with daily heat indexes in the 100 to 105 range, NWS forecasters in the Greer, S.C., office said in an online forecast discussion at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The office oversees the weather in the Charlotte region and SC and NC mountains.

The heat index is a number that combines air temperature and relative humidity to show how conditions actually feel to people, according to The Weather Channel.

“It’s definitely going to be warmer than normal,” NWS meteorologist Trisha Palmer told The Charlotte Observer on Saturday

Palmer said highs are normally in the upper 80s to 90 degrees during the July Fourth week in Charlotte.

Late July and early August is typically the hottest time of the year for the region, she said.

The high could hit 96 degrees at Charlotte’s airport on Tuesday, 95 degrees on Wednesday, 93 on Thursday and 90 on Friday, according to the NWS.

The record high for July 4 in Charlotte is 99 degrees, set in 1993, according to Palmer.

The NWS issues heat advisories when the heat index is between 105 and 110, Palmer said.

Still, she urged, “don’t let your guard down” if the index is lower than the government’s heat advisory level. Drink plenty of fluids and take other measures against the heat, she said, as heat-related hospital visits have been shown to increase when the index is at 100 to 105 as well. Consuming alcohol in such heat should be avoided, as it can lead to dehydration, she said.

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

Joe Marusak has been a reporter for The Charlotte Observer since 1989 covering the people, municipalities and major news events of the region, and was a news bureau editor for the paper. He currently reports on breaking news.