Historic Heat: Cape Fear temperatures break several records


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Cape Fear is feeling the heat lately and at times at historical levels.

September was very warm across most of North and South Carolina.  Temperatures were three to five degrees above normal – one of the top few warmest Septembers in recorded local history. Heat has continued into October and is breaking daily, monthly and now some seasonal records as well.

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The average high temperature in our area for early October is around 80 degrees.

Wilmington hit 98 degrees at 2:19 p.m. Thursday, breaking the record of 95 set on this day back in 1986.

This is also the hottest temperature recorded this late in the year, setting a new record for the month of October. When you factor in the high humidity, it felt like the triple digits.

More of the intense heat is on the way Friday. The record high of 94 degrees in Wilmington set back in 1986 could be broken as temperatures are forecast to be at least that high again.

The reason for the recent hot weather has been a strong area of high pressure aloft. Sinking air within this high causes the air to warm and keeps skies sunny.  Northwesterly winds crossing the Appalachian Mountains also helps warm the air further through compressional heating — the same process that makes a tire pump heat up while you’re using it.

With the exception of Hurricane Dorian’s coastal rainfall back in September, the persistent high pressure has kept the Carolinas unusually dry.  Expanding drought conditions and worsening soil moisture deficits mean the ground and the air above it warms quickly during the day.  Drought has literally helped to create the heat we’re dealing with.

When will we break the late season heat wave? This weekend! A cold front will drop temperatures to at or below normal levels Saturday and Sunday.

Read more here.