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With heat index values expected to reach triple digits Wednesday and Thursday, Wake County will open temporary cooling stations for those who don’t have a place to seek relief from the high temperatures.

Starting at 11 a.m., residents can cool off at the following Wake County locations:

  • Swinburne Building, 220 Swinburne St., Raleigh
  • Eastern Regional Center, 1002 Dogwood Drive, Zebulon
  • Northern Regional Center, 350 E. Holding Ave., Wake Forest
  • Southern Regional Center, 130 N. Judd Parkway NE, Fuquay-Varina

The Northern Regional Center closes at 4 p.m. The other locations close at 5 p.m.

“More people in the United States die each year from extreme heat exposure than from any other weather-related cause,” said Wake County Manager David Ellis. “Even during the pandemic, we still want to provide relief for our residents.”

The cooling centers will observe strict COVID-19 precautions, including requiring visitors to wear face coverings, participate in temperature screenings and abide by social distancing guidelines. Anyone who refuses to follow these rules will not be allowed to enter. Areas will be sanitized and wiped down frequently to ensure cleanliness.

Adults older than 65, children younger than four, people with existing medical conditions and those without access to air conditioning are at the greatest risk on days with high temperatures. Drinking plenty of water and staying out of the sun are critical precautions. People should also check on their neighbors who may be at high risk and ensure they have access to heat relief and hydration.

To stay safe and cool during extreme heat, residents are encouraged to:

  • Stay indoors in air-conditioned spaces as much as possible and limit exposure to the sun;
  • Dress in loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothes that cover as much skin as possible;
  • Familiarize themselves with the medical conditions that can result from over-exposure to heat, including heat exhaustion and heat stroke;
  • Avoid strenuous work during the warmest part of the day. Use a buddy system when working in extreme heat and take frequent breaks; and
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.



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