Scary storms, searing heat unlikely to let up for long

The National Weather Service forecasts the same storm-boiling heat and humidity through at least Thursday. Lightning streaks through the sky over Mount Pleasant earlier this month.

The pressing heat is not easing up until the weekend. The violent thunderstorms aren’t going to ease until the heat does.

That’s the quick read on what to expect after a few days of blasting temperatures, Tuesday’s hurricane-like winds and Sunday’s scary lightning. It is “the peak heat of summer” indicated by National Climatic Center records over the past 30 years.

The National Weather Service, Charleston, is calling for the same storm-boiling heat and humidity through at least Thursday. The only possible relief would be if heat indices — the combined measure of both — drop below the 110-degree mark that triggers heat advisories this time of year.

“Maybe, if anything, a subtle backing off,” said meteorologist Steve Taylor, with the weather service.

“By Friday, we should see temperatures cool down,” said meteorologist Doug Berry, of the weather service.

Before you let out all that breath, “cool down” means to a high of about 90 degrees from the mid- to high 90s we have been getting. A heat advisory is issued when the heat index climbs to the point where people can be affected by heat if precautions are not taken.

On Tuesday, heat indices were being recorded above 110 degrees throughout the region, and an unofficial report of 127 came out of West Ashley. Forecasters agreed that one was probably an over-read, but it suggests just how excruciating the blast got in spots.

Then came the thunderstorms, the fury of them apparently picking up fuel from “urban heating,” said Shea Gibson, with WeatherFlow. That’s the effect of the sun baking on hotter metropolitan surfaces such as roads and roofs, turning up the heat in the immediate air.

On Tuesday, the storms kicked up 70-mph winds on Sullivan’s Island and Isle of Palms. Charleston resident Bart Liebmann was watching the Isle of Palms webcam when he saw a Hobie Cat sailboat blow down the beach.

The weekend might mean a small break from high heat and humidity, but neither is going to drift off in a hurry. There’s a very good chance of higher-than-normal temperatures through the next two weeks and a good chance through the next month, according to the federal Climate Prediction Center.

Editor’s note: Earlier versions of this story contained an error.

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