White flag nights help Triangle's homeless population find shelter during cold snap

Posted November 11, 2017 7:27 a.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 11:15 a.m. EDT

— As temperatures dip, many in the Triangle are left exposed to the elements, but the Raleigh Rescue Mission is working to make sure those in need stay safe.

“When weather either gets to 38 degrees with precipitation of 32 degrees, we put out a white flag that essentially alerts the community or those in need,” said Lauri Para with the Raleigh Rescue Mission.

A freeze warning was in effect from Friday night through 9 a.m. Saturday, and although temperatures climbed into the upper 40s by Saturday afternoon, they were expected to drop into the 30s again once the sun sets.

Regional Temperatures

"By midnight, we're all in the 30s, by daybreak, we're talking about 20s and 30s once again and then tomorrow we start to moderate," WRAL meteorologist Mike Maze said.

The white flag means the shelter is open to anybody who needs a warm meal, a roof over their head and a place to sleep during the frigid temperatures.

“We do purposely expand capacity on white flag nights, so we would be able to allow for additional men, women and children,” Para said.

Para said white flag nights are a Wake County initiative and other shelters, including the Helen Wright Center and the South Wilmington Street Center for Men, participate.

“We kind of do a coordinated effort together. If, for some reason, we’ve reached capacity, we are in communication with the other shelters nearby and make sure they are able to get there safely,” she said.

The white flag will remain out at participating shelters until the weather gets warmer.

“To be able to have a place for them to go to get warm, be safe, to get a hot meal and a shower, it just means a lot to us to be able to do that,” Para said.

Sunday is expected to be a bit warmer than Saturday, with forecast high temperatures in the upper 50s and rain is possible Sunday night through early Monday.

7-Day Forecast

Temperatures will remain chilly through midweek, when “average” fall weather returns with highs in the 60s.