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School is a refuge from heat

The American Red Cross on Tuesday set up a “cooling station” at First Ward Elementary School to help Charlotteans beat the heat. The high was 97 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

From 12 p.m. to 8 p.m., the school, on North Caldwell Street near uptown, opened its doors to let residents sit at tables in the air conditioned gymnasium.

Volunteers from the Greater Carolinas Chapter of the Red Cross handed out bottles of water and snacks to people seeking shelter from the soaring temperatures.

By about 5 p.m., about 75 people had come through the doors.

They expressed gratitude.

“If you ain't got nothing cold to drink, you are a hot, miserable son of a gun,” said 60-year-old Donna Wilson.

Wilson, who's homeless, said the homeless community was thankful for the generosity of the Red Cross volunteers.

The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte offered a dinner at the school from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The National Weather Service canceled its heat advisory for Mecklenburg, Gaston, and Union counties Tuesday afternoon.

A weak cold front, along with showers and thunderstorms, hit the Charlotte area Tuesday evening. Forecasters expect daily high temperatures to hover around the 90 degree mark for the rest of the week and into the weekend.

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