Heat expected to peak today, but relief forecast by midweek

Shivon Fulton ushered her two kids into a tent with misting water on South Tryon Street Saturday and followed right behind them.

Taking a break from the Taste of Charlotte food/music festival, the trio enjoyed a good soaking and a welcomed cooling. “It's brutal,” Fulton said of the hot weather, an observation none crowding uptown streets could disagree with.

As the temperatures climbed close to 100 degrees, people employed various strategies to stay cool.

Meteorologists say the worst of the heat wave could come today.

Water bottles and hats were ubiquitous Saturday. Chizuru Sugai held a flowered parasol from her native Japan to block the sun. A low-tech device proved to be surprisingly popular – plastic fans passed out by a local air conditioning company.

These bright yellow “Emergency Air Conditioner” units fluttered as people stirred a mostly hot breeze.

“In the Charlotte area, it looks as if the hottest temperatures will be Sunday,” said Jeff Taylor, of the National Weather Service office in Greer, S.C. Taylor said highs will approach 100 degrees in Charlotte, with even hotter readings in counties to the southeast.

The record for today is 99 degrees, set in 1899. Saturday's high in Charlotte of 97 tied the record for the date, also set in that 1899 heat wave.

Taylor said there is good news in the forecast.

“By the middle of the week, temperatures will begin to come back down, into the upper 80s and lower 90s,” he said, adding that afternoon and evening thunderstorms return to the forecast by Wednesday.

Carolinas Medical Center treated eight people for heat exhaustion and/or dehydration Friday. They were workers who had to be outdoors, according to a spokesman. But the emergency room saw “no unusual activity' on heat-related illnesses on Saturday.

Taste of Charlotte continues 11 a.m.-6 p.m. along Tryon Street today.