First Summer Heat Wave On The Way

Community members reminded to take steps to prevent heat illness

While the Triangle has experienced lower than normal temperatures this month, all that's going to change just in time for the first days of summer when the mercury begins to rise in the 90s

Monthly temperatures in June have averaged 68 degrees, 9 degrees lower than the normal value of 77, according to the National Weather Service. By Thursday of this week, local residents can expect 93 degrees with the heat index a few ticks higher.

"This past weekend was definitely cooler than what we'll experience this week," said Kathleen Carroll, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service's Raleigh office. "We have above-normal chances of warmer temperatures for this week, and it's definitely going to be more humid than it was this weekend and last week."

Carroll also noted that while the temperatures may dip a bit next week, the Triangle has above-average chances of experiencing a hotter late summer come August. The US Drought Monitor currently lists Durham County as "abnormally dry," something Carroll said is likely to continue.

With heat on its way, it's important for Duke community members - no matter if they work inside or outside - to stay hydrated and drink plenty of water, said Dr. Carol Epling, co-director of Duke's Employee Occupational Health and Wellness. In addition, she offered these tips to beat the heat:

  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Limit outdoor activity to morning or evening hours.
  • If outdoors, stay in the shade as much as possible.
  • Keep track of outdoor temperatures and personal comfort levels to know what temperatures feel too hot.
  • Dress in lightweight, light-colored cotton clothing.

"With this first heat wave of the summer, we need to remind ourselves of the ways we can prevent heat related illness by staying hydrated regularly throughout the day and making sure to drink before we feel thirsty," Epling said. "It's also important to take frequent breaks if we feel overheated, no matter where we work."

See how Jason Holmes, curator of the Doris Duke Center Gardens, beats the summer heat: