THURSDAY’S WEATHER-TRAFFIC: Heat advisory issued for hottest day of the year

Summer vacation is going out with a bang on the hottest day of the year.

Atlanta is expected to reach 97 degrees Thursday as the region stays dry, clear and humid. That is not quite record heat, but it’s still scorching hot, Channel 2 Action News meteorologist Brian Monahan said. The record is 103 degrees and was set in 1952.

The rise in temperature comes as thousands of metro Atlanta students are preparing to return to class next week. With total sunshine in the forecast, Thursday is a great opportunity to take advantage of those final days of freedom and sit by the pool, Monahan said.

“You get a break from the rain, you get a break from the clouds, and it is Georgia,” he said. “It is summertime. It is the end of July. That means the heat goes way, way up there.”

Not only will North Georgia contend with heat, humidity is also high Thursday. When factored together, it could mean heat indexes in excess of 100 degrees, according to Channel 2.

Heat indexes could top 100 degrees in North Georgia on Thursday, according to Channel 2 Action News.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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Credit: Channel 2 Action News

“The higher that heat index gets, the less efficiently your body can cool itself,” Monahan said. “When it gets over 100, that’s when it starts to get into that dangerous range, and that’s where we are going to be this afternoon under a mostly sunny sky.”

All of North Georgia, including metro Atlanta, is under a heat advisory. The advisory is scheduled to take effect at noon and expire at 8 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service.

The Weather Service is urging extra precautions for those working or spending time outside Thursday. If possible, reschedule strenuous activities to the early morning or evening, and know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and and heat stroke, the Weather Service said in the advisory.

The heat will also cause air quality to decline. A Code Orange smog alert has been issued for metro Atlanta on Thursday.

A Code Orange smog alert means air quality conditions are unhealthy for sensitive groups.

Another hot day is in the forecast Friday. Atlanta’s projected high is 96 degrees, and rain relief isn’t likely with only a 10% chance of a shower, according to Channel 2. Rain chances increase for the weekend, when a few storms are possible Saturday and Sunday.

“It should be a wet to start next week,” Monahan said.

Credit: Channel 2 Action News

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Credit: Channel 2 Action News

There are no major traffic delays inside the Perimeter on Thursday morning, but a crash on I-85 is impacting the ride getting into Gwinnett County, according to the WSB 24-hour Traffic Center.

The crash at U.S. 441 has all southbound lanes shut down, the Traffic Center reported. Commuters can use Ga. 59 to get into the Commerce area.

» For a detailed forecast, visit The Atlanta Journal-Constitution weather page.

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