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How NC handles hot weather: These are the 5 stages of coping with the heat.

The heat in Raleigh has finally arrived as promised — a sticky, burning oppression settling in the week summer officially hits the calendar.

On Tuesday, when the mercury is expected to rocket to 98 degrees, the Triangle will be hotter than cities in Nigeria, Indonesia and Iran. And that's without the heat index, which could take Raleigh as high as 107 degrees, matching conditions in Dubai.

And while uncomfortable heat and humidity in the South is no more surprising than ice fishing in Minnesota, there are some points to keep in mind.

In the Five Stages of Weather Grief, consider Monday the denial phase. By Friday, you'll be basking in full-on acceptance.

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Stage 1: It won't last.

If you've ever lived in Texas, you know the meaning of relentless. Summer kicks the door down on June 1 and lights a 100-degree fire that burns without stopping until September. Even when Halloween rolls around, you won't catch many kids in Wookiee costumes because it's usually still in the 90s by late October.

We're not like that.

The misery rarely lasts more than a week at a time. Thunderstorms nearly always come to our aid.

As searing as this week will get, ABC11 Meteorologist Don "Big Weather" Schwenneker expects showers Thursday night and a cooling down to the high 80s by Saturday.

"We always get these bursts," he said.

Stage 2: It could be worse.

The true measure of a heat wave is 100 degrees. Somehow, the temperature gets more menacing when it hits triple digits, and Schwenneker says that's not happening — at least not this week. His forecast tops out at 98 degrees, though the National Weather Service predicts slightly more serious triple-digit flirting at 99.

If you have recently relocated here, remember you could always be in Phoenix, where residents will endure 110 degrees on Thursday.

"I don't think we'll break 100," Schwenneker said. "But we're talking one degree."

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Stage 3: It has been worse.

In 1944, as the Allies stormed across France in World War II, Raleigh's heat rose to 102 degrees — its historic high.

More recently, in 1991, the heat index reached 112 degrees, causing a local car dealer to complain, "It feels like a hot, wet blanket," according to The News & Observer

Six years later, in 1997, a Durham man named Keith Faucette beat the triple-digit heat index through meditation.

"I transcend the Earth plane," he told The News & Observer. "I let my mind go somewhere else."

Stage 4: You can help.

Often, a terrible experience can be soothed by lessening some one else's agony.

The Cool for Wake program provides fans and a few window-unit air conditioners to houses with senior citizens and children under 12.

"We expect to be busy over the next few days," said Denise Kissel, the Wake County employee who runs the program. "We typically see requests for fans increase with the temperatures."

In a year's time, the program distributes between 350 and 400 fans, so gently used models are gratefully accepted, as are cash donations.

For information on how to qualify for Cool for Wake or to make a donation, contact Denise Kissel at 919-212-7083 or denise.kissel@wakegov.com.

Stage 5: You'll get used to it.

Any part of the country presents a downside, no matter how much of a paradise. Earthquakes in L.A. Gas prices in Hawaii.

Raleigh's heat qualifies as an easy cross to bear by comparison. The mountains and the beaches beckon, and the city in the summer empties out like Paris on holiday.

There is always sweet tea.

Josh Shaffer: 919-829-4818, @joshshaffer08


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