The National Weather Service has issued a heat advisory for 17 counties in the eastern and southeastern part of the state today. The heat index could reach 105 degrees in the Sand Hills by early this evening.
The N.C. Department of Health and Human Services warns that these high temperatures put people—especially the elderly, the very young, and those on specific medications—at risk for heat stroke.
A DHHS statement advises everyone to drink more fluids, reduce physical activity, and take frequent breaks in air conditioned spaces.
But that critical mass of AC use poses a challenge to the power grid.
Duke Energy Spokesman Jeff Brooks said that's when scattered blackouts tend to happen.
"We tend to see that usage occurs late in the day, as people come home from work and use that air conditioner and those other high-usage devices. The air conditioner is the highest user of energy in your home," Brooks said.
"You can imagine, when millions of homes and businesses are running that overtime, that does put added stress on the system and increases usage."
Brooks said Duke Energy is monitoring grids statewide and will work to quickly restore power. He recommends keeping the AC at the warmest comfortable temperature to limit power use and save on utility bills.