SECTION 4: RISK ASSESSMENT
Historical Occurrences According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), 2017 was North Carolina’s hottest year on record; that record stretches back 123 years to 1895. The following two heat-related incidents were reported by NCEI for Wake County; these incidents caused one injury and no fatalities, property damage, or crop damage: July 22, 1998 – Excessive heat plagued central North Carolina during July 22 through July 23. Maximum temperatures reached the 98 to 103 degree range combined with dew points in the 78 to 80 degree range with little wind to give heat index values of around 110 degrees for several hours each afternoon. To make matters worse, the minimum temperatures did not fall below 80 at several locations and those that did achieved that feat for only an hour or two. Strong thunderstorms ended the 2 day excessive heat ordeal on the evening of the 23 when rain cooled the environment enough to send temperatures into the lower 70s at most locations. August 22, 2007 – An athlete from Enloe High School running track collapsed from heat exhaustion and was sent to the hospital in critical condition. The student remained in the hospital in critical condition for several days. Probability of Future Occurrence Data was gathered from the North Carolina State Climate Office’s Climate Thresholds Tool using the Raleigh State University weather station as an approximation for Wake County. During the 20-year period from 1999 through 2018, Wake County experienced 33 days with a high temperature above 100°F, or an average of 1.65 days per year. In 2012, there were 10 days with recorded temperatures above this threshold. Probability: 4 – Highly Likely Climate Change Research shows that average temperatures will continue to rise in the Southeast United States and globally, directly affecting the Wake County region in North Carolina. Per the Fourth National Climate Assessment, “extreme temperatures are projected to increase even more than average temperatures. Cold waves are projected to become less intense and heat waves more intense.” The number of days over 95°F is expected to increase by between 20 and 30 days annually, as shown in Figure 4.10. The Triangle Regional Resilience Partnership Resilience Assessment notes that the number of days with extreme temperatures has been increasing in the Triangle; climbing from an average of 18 days over 92°F per year from 1948 to 2012 to a peak of 48 days over 92°F in 2010.
Wake County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan 2019
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