Friday heat, but storms could follow; much cooler Sunday

Temperatures climbed into the middle 90s Friday afternoon across much of the Charlotte region on one of the hottest days of the summer, but meteorologists said strong thunderstorms could hit the area this evening.

And considerably cooler weather is in store for the region by Sunday, they said.

The hottest day so far this year in Charlotte was 96 degrees on July 14, and forecasters said readings likely would reach that level by later Friday afternoon. The heat index, a combined impact of temperature and humidity, was forecast to reach 102 degrees in some areas.

That will present very hot conditions for the first full night of the high school football season in North Carolina.

But another issue could have more impact. Early Friday afternoon, forecasters were watching an area of thunderstorms over Illinois and Indiana. Steering currents in the atmosphere are expected to drag those storms southeast during the afternoon and evening, across Kentucky, Tennessee and into North Carolina.

The Storm Prediction Center in Oklahoma has put much of the Charlotte region in the risk area for severe thunderstorms Friday evening and during the early nighttime hours.

Storms are expected to dissipate later at night, and high temperatures Saturday are forecast to be in the low 90s with another chance of storms later in the day.

Saturday’s storms will be caused by an approaching “back-door” cold front that will push southward from Virginia into North Carolina by Saturday night or early Sunday.

Much cooler weather is expected behind the front, with highs Sunday and Monday only reaching the lower 80s. There will be a chance of showers and thunderstorms Sunday with the front still nearby, but dry conditions are predicted for Monday through Wednesday.