Summer doesn't officially begin until Thursday, but the National Weather Service already is warning people across North Carolina to expect dangerously high temperatures this week.
Hazardous weather outlooks were issued across the state — from Charlotte to Raleigh to Wilmington and many more areas — warning of "dangerously hot weather" with heat index values of 103 to 109 every day through at least Thursday.
The heat index is a measure of how hot it really feels when relative humidity is factored in with the actual air temperature, according to the weather service.
Temperatures themselves will reach the upper 90s, the weather service said.
And it's not just North Carolina facing a scorcher all this week. The weather service forecast 90-degree weather for most of the southeast, from Virginia to Florida, though the Carolinas could still be the warmest.
Once the heat index reaches higher than 90, people are at much higher risk for sunstroke, heat cramps and heat exhaustion if they have prolonged exposure to the heat and/or physical activity, the weather service said.
Sunstroke, or heatstroke, is a medical emergency where the person's body temperature reaches 106 degrees or higher. The person can become unconscious, and needs emergency medical assistance. Heatstroke can be fatal, according to the weather service.
The temperature isn't all you should be concerned about.
That heat, combined with ample moisture in the atmosphere, also could lead to multiple late-day thunderstorms. The strongest of those storms could bring damaging wind gusts, according to the weather service.
Air quality also is an issue. The National Weather Service issued a "code orange" alert for air quality on Sunday for the Triad and the Charlotte metro area.
That means children, seniors and people with respiratory issues could have trouble and should limit their exertion outside.
The weather service office in Wilmington also issued a moderate rip current risk on Sunday.
Heat safety tips from NWS:
▪ Slow down. Strenuous activities should be reduced, eliminated or rescheduled to the coolest time of the day. Individuals at risk should stay in the coolest available place, not necessarily indoors.
▪ Dress for summer. Lightweight, light-colored clothing reflects heat and sunlight, and helps your body maintain normal temperatures.
▪ Foods (like proteins) that increase metabolic heat production also increase water loss.
▪ Drink plenty of water or non-alcoholic fluids. Your body needs water to keep cool. Drink plenty of fluids even if you don't feel thirsty.
▪ Do not drink alcoholic beverages.
▪ Spend more time in air-conditioned places. Air conditioning in homes and other buildings markedly reduces danger from the heat. If you cannot afford an air conditioner, spending some time each day (during hot weather) in an air conditioned environment affords some protection.
▪ Don't get too much sun. Sunburn makes the job of heat dissipation that much more difficult.