Heat Wave Surges Eastward

By: By Alex Sosnowski Accuweather.com
By: By Alex Sosnowski Accuweather.com

Charlotte has not cracked the 90-degree mark yet this year. That will change in this pattern. The cities of Memphis, Jackson, Birmingham, Montgomery, Atlanta, Charlotte and Columbia are all destined for their hottest stretch of weather so far in 2009.

Factoring in sunshine, humidity, wind and other conditions, AccuWeather.com RealFeel® temperatures will top the century mark for a number of hours each day.

The hot air may shock many visitors and long-time residents due to the lack of extreme heat so far this season. Be sure to avoid strenuous activity, wear light clothing and drink plenty of water to help guard against heat-related illnesses.

On the edge of the extreme heat and prior to the arrival of the worst of it, potentially damaging thunderstorms will rumble from the Ohio Valley into the central Appalachians, the Virginias and parts of North Carolina each day through the weekend. Cities included in the line of fire of potentially violent thunderstorms include Charleston, W.Va., Winston-Salem, Roanoke, Richmond, Norfolk and Raleigh.

A complex of thunderstorms, known as a Derecho, may even survive the trip as far south this evening as Atlanta, Charlotte and Greenville. Where the storms hit, expect blinding downpours and urban flooding to slow travel. Though much weaker than earlier today in Kentucky, locally strong winds can down trees, limbs and may cause sporadic power outages.

The strongest thunderstorms will be capable of producing damaging winds, hail, flash flooding and dangerous lightning. An isolated tornado cannot be ruled out. Localized property damage, power outages and travel delays are anticipated.

The blazing heat will persist into Saturday but should slowly ease from north to south Sunday into early next week. A round or two of severe thunderstorms, however, may accompany the transition to more comfortable temperatures in parts of the region.

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