Weather: 90-degree temps here to stay for Charlotte

The National Weather Service predicts Charlotte’s first heat wave of the year will be with us through the weekend.

Temperatures reached the mid-90s Wednesday in much of the Charlotte area, and the National Weather Service said temperatures will remain in the low to mid-90s through the weekend.

Thunderstorms broke out Wednesday afternoon on a spotty basis. Meteorologist Jeff Taylor of the National Weather Service’s office in Greer, S.C., said he expects storms to become a bit more numerous by the weekend.

High pressure responsible for the heat wave is forecast to nudge westward a bit, which will allow clusters of thunderstorms which have been hitting the Midwest to veer farther southward from Friday into early next week.

There was a bit of good news for the Charlotte area Wednesday, as a code orange air quality alert which had been issued was canceled by late morning. Elliot Tardif, a meteorologist with the N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources, said higher-than-expected humidity levels prevented ozone levels from climbing above the alert stage.

As is typical in the first heat wave, a number of Charlotte-area residents are experiencing problems with air conditioning systems.

“We’ve definitely noticed an increase in the call volume,” said Ashley Stabel, of All City Heat and Air in Charlotte. “It’s just like we usually see when it gets hot like this.”

The Better Business Bureau of the Southern Piedmont advised residents to be careful in hiring crews to repair home air conditioning units.

“Air conditioning units can be the most expensive equipment in your home,” Better Business Bureau President Tom Bartholomy said. “Given the large number of contractors and companies that provide air conditioning service, it is important to distinguish between the good and the bad.”

Bartholomy suggested residents check companies’ service records with the Better Business Bureau and be wary of unsolicited offers and high-pressure sales pitches for new systems.

The Better Business Bureau and the American Red Cross recommended that people who are concerned about paying higher electricity bills for air conditioning should try to arrange payments with Duke Energy or even seek help from Crisis Assistance Ministry.

“Many people go without air conditioning because they can’t afford it,” Bartholomy said. “Unfortunately, extreme heat can be deadly.”

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