Temperatures at Midway Airport reached 100 degrees for the first time in a decade Tuesday as a heatwave belted the Chicago area, according to the National Weather Service.
The extreme heat prompted the National Weather Service to issue an “excessive heat warning” in northern Illinois that expires Wednesday evening. Heat indexes will be above 100 degrees again Wednesday, with high temperatures between 93 and 97 degrees across the region.
For some, though, the scorching temps brought a welcome change.
“I always feel like Chicago, we’re on punishment for nine months,” said Xavier Perez, who spent Tuesday at Montrose Beach. “It’s like time out. But then for three months, the city comes to life.”
Perez, a DePaul University professor of criminology, set up camp at the beach with his wife, Paty Diaz, for the day. The Humboldt Park couple spent the bulk of the day on the beach, playing music from a speaker and taking dips in the water.
“We clock in here like it’s our job,” Diaz said.
By 3 p.m. Tuesday, temperatures at Midway had reached 100 degrees. It was the first time since July 2012 that the airport reached that mark, the weather service said. At O’Hare Airport, temperatures climbed to 96 degrees around 2 p.m., falling a few degrees shy of the record high for June 14 of 99 degrees set in 1987. Official temperature records for the city are measured at O’Hare.
City leaders on Tuesday morning offered suggestions on how residents could stay safe, including staying cool and drinking plenty of water.
Rich Guidice, head of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, offered this advice for those who do not have air conditioning: keep shades drawn with windows slightly open, keep electric lights off or turned down, minimize the use of ovens of and stoves; wear loose, light cotton clothing; and take cool baths and showers.
Residents should not leave anyone, including pets, in a parked car — even for a few minutes, Guidice said during a news conference Tuesday at OEMC headquarters in the West Loop.
“Do not underestimate the health risks of heat and humidity, they are dangerous and, in some cases, can be deadly,” said Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical officer for the Chicago Department of Public Health.
Residents were also encouraged to check on relatives, neighbors and vulnerable populations. If someone can’t be reached, people are encouraged to call 311 to request a well-being check, and of course, to call 911 if someone is experiencing a medical emergency.
Matthew Beaudet, head of the Department of Buildings, said that building owners and managers have been asked to make sure all their cooling equipment is operating properly.
Beaudet said members of his department have visited senior buildings to make sure equipment is functioning properly and if there are mechanical issues, they are “addressed swiftly.”
The city will be operating six cooling areas to allow residents to get out of the heat, according to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
These cooling areas are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m Monday through Friday (except for the Garfield Center, which will be open 24 hours):
- Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th St.
- Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave.
- King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.
- North Area Center, 845 W. Wilson Ave.
- South Chicago Center, 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
- Trina Davila Center, 4312 W. North Ave.
Residents can also find relief in one of the city’s more than 75 Chicago Public Library locations and more than 250 Chicago Park District fieldhouses as well as 176 splash pads.
Lakefront beaches are also open.
People should be aware of the symptoms of heat exhaustion, a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Heatstroke is more serious and occurs when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself.
The telltale signs of heatstroke:
- An extremely high body temperature, such as 103 degrees or above
- Dizziness and nausea
- A throbbing headache and a pulse that is rapid and strong
- Skin that is red, hot and dry.
The extreme heat fell on Chicago Public Schools’ final day of classes for the school year —and for Lincoln Park High School sophomore Mia Rodriguez, that meant one thing: hitting the beach, just as she’s done every year since she was in elementary school.
“It was weird because absolutely no one was in class,” she said.
For the summer, Rodriguez plans to play soccer, work with After School Matters and plan her upcoming quinceañera.
“And come to the beach as much as possible,” her mom, Gris Reyes, added.
A welcome breeze greeted those on Montrose Beach in the evening, and kids sprayed each other with water guns, dug in the sand and looked for shells on the shore.
“I found all the shells,” 3-year-old J.J. Olascoaga told her mom, Lisa Rodriguez, while splashing around in the water.
The heat followed a damaging storm Monday night that left downed trees and other damage throughout the city. Rodriguez said the power in her home near Midway Airport went out for 5-10 minutes before coming back on.
If the heat persists, Rodriguez and J.J. will be “staying inside or staying by the water,” she said.
A cold front will bring relief later this week. By Thursday, high temperatures will be in the low 90s, and Friday will be in the mid-80s. It could feel more like the 70s near Lake Michigan.
The weekend is forecast to be sunny with highs in the 80s.
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