CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The heat is officially on in Charlotte.

Thursday's high in Charlotte was 96 degrees, marking the hottest day since August of last year, and Friday is expected to be even hotter. With a forecasted high of 98 degrees, Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich expects Friday to be the hottest day of the year. And if 98 degrees isn't hot enough, the heat index will make it feel like it's 103.

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Thursday’s scorching temperatures triggered a heat wave that’s expected to last through the weekend, with Panovich expecting highs in the upper 90s, well above the average of around 90 degrees.

A code orange Air Quality Alert has been issued for Friday across the Charlotte area. With an AQI of 105, people that suffer from any respiratory conditions, such as asthma, should cut back on their time outdoors.

Despite the extreme heat, doctors say it's OK for kids to be outside for brief periods of time, but parents need to keep them hydrated and cooled down as soon as they come back indoors.

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