Triangle swelters through heat

Groups around the Triangle are gearing up to help the people most vulnerable to heat as another hot, humid week kicks off.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — Groups around the Triangle are gearing up to help the people most vulnerable to heat as another hot, humid week kicks off.

Monday saw a high of 92 degrees in Raleigh and Durham and 97 degrees in Fayetteville. High humidity made it feel as if it were at least 100 degrees.

Kristie Dubay, of Durham, took precautions when she brought her 3-year-old son out to play in Forest Hills Park.

"Keep him in the shade. Keep a hat on him. Keep him hydrated with water," Dubay said.

Father Craig Mead used similar strategies to get through the heat.

"I grew up in North Carolina. I'm used to it," Mead said. "I drink lots of water, wear sun tan lotion, and just plow through it."

Not everybody, though, can cope with being outside.

The city of Durham adjusted schedules for employees who work outside, such as waste collectors. Those workers will come earlier in the morning when it's cooler.(See a full list of programs around the Triangle.)

Wake County opens homeless shelters during the day when the heat index rises above 101 degrees.

The county's Cool for Wake program distributes fans to about 300 to 500 households that don't have air conditioning. The households must include a senior citizen, child or disabled adult and have to be recommended by a social services worker or health professional. The program also takes donations of new window air conditioning units.

The hot days also mean more business for air conditioning installers and repairers. Bill Ward, with Bryant Durham Heating and Air, said he's been twice as busy as on a normal day.

"When the temperature gets above the 90s, the older units, that's usually when they give out," he said.

Ward said it seems as if the heat has come earlier this year, and he doesn't expect it to go away any time soon.

"It is warmer this year than it was last year at this time," he said. "This is just the start of summer."

WRAL meteorologists said Ward's prognostication is close to the mark. A year ago, Raleigh's high temperature was 86 degrees. This year, highs in the 90s stretch out for the length of the seven-day forecast, except for Wednesday. Then, the high is 89 degrees.

"It's like a sauna at times, especially after a nice thunderstorm in the afternoon," Mead said.

Durham residents said the best thing to do is find some enjoyment in the heat.

"I'm not afraid of the heat. That's just part of living in North Carolina," Dubay said. "I actually like the heat a little bit, so I don't mind getting out."


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