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Sweltering Heat Wave Sets In Across Chicago Area

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A bicyclist takes a break Tuesday morning in the sweltering heat. The temperature was expected to top out at 97 degrees. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 06/07/11 7:13 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Temperatures soared into the mid 90s on Tuesday, making it one of the hottest June days in 10 years, and just a few degrees short of an all-time record for the day.

At 4 p.m., the temperature had risen to 94 degrees at O’Hare International Airport. Light dresses were in for the ladies, and ties and jackets were out for the gentlemen, as people walked near Randolph Drive and Michigan Avenue.

Conditions were hazy, hot and humid, and since the heat is sweeping in from the southwest, the 62-degree lake will offer no relief.

Worse, heat index values making it feel as if it were between 99 and 105 degrees, and humidity will intensify the uncomfortable atmosphere outside. The dewpoint, a measurement of atmospheric moisture, is expected at 70 degrees – just on the line between uncomfortable and oppressive.

The normal high for the day is 77 degrees. The record for the day is 100 degrees, set back during the Great Depression in 1933.

With the blazing hot sun, plenty of people were complaining.

“The humidity is killing me,” one woman said.

“In this weather, I’d love to be in anything other than two layers,” another woman said. “It’s very toasty, very toasty.”

But not everyone has the choice to take off layers.

One woman had to wear gloves, long sleeves and long jeans for safety reasons as she worked construction on Congress Parkway and Wells Street. Her partner also had to work with a heavy machine.

The heat is on, and it’s one thing to be out enjoying it like the hundreds of people at North Avenue Beach, but it’s a whole other thing to be out working in it. Landscaper Jamie Williams started at 6am. CBS 2′s Mai Martinez reports.

Williams says with the sun bearing down on him, he knows it’s important to pace himself, and drink plenty of water. He also takes breaks when needed. “Just like right now, I’m sweating. You sweating too bad. You can’t do nothing, like you have to take a break or you’ll overexert yourself,” Williams said as he sat under a tree.

And Williams wasn’t the only one looking for a break from the heat and humidity.

Those without air conditioning, turned to their front yards for a bit of a breeze and the shade of a tree. Sherri White was one of them. She said it was already too hot to stay in her house at 7am, and it was even hotter inside as the day dragged on. “We open the windows, but nothing come on through because we between two buildings,” explained White.

As for those who are trying to get through this hot day as normal as possible, some said they did all of their outdoor activities early in the morning.

“As long as you stay hydrated and use your head a little bit, I think you’ll be OK,” a man said, “but if you go out here and bake all day, I think you could have some problems.”

Also earlier in the day, some people didn’t much care about the heat, because they were still winter-weary.

“We’ve been waiting, like, two to three weeks. Summer is delayed. We just want to go to the beach, have some fun, throw a Frisbee, do us – that’s it, Chicago,” a man said. “If you’re old, it’s dangerous. If you’re young, you’re on the beach having fun. That’s what we do.”

At North Avenue Beach, one 60-year-old man was spotted walking shirtless with board shorts.

“I’m kind of retired now, so I’ve got plenty of time to relax, enjoy myself and enjoy the sun,” he said. “Just bumming; just being a beach bum today.”

LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Bernie Tafoya reports

Nick Fiore was also at the beach Tuesday morning, with his yellow Labrador retriever, Prancer.

“He’s chasing the ball in the water. I’m just hanging out; enjoying the weather,” Fiore said. “He’s an unbelievable swimmer; real strong. He’d be here all day if he could, (but) it’s too hot later for him. This is a perfect time for him.”

Fiore pointed out that people need to watch their pets when it gets hot, given that their fur is like having a winter coat year-round.

In Englewood on the city’s South Side, Sherri White’s home was heating up quickly.

“We open the windows, but nothing come on through because we between two buildings,” White said

Because of that White uses the only fan in her house, paired with a pot of water, to keep her 4-month-old twin granddaughters cool.

“I’d rather keep them cool than me,” she said.

In north suburban Deerfield, the graduation ceremony at Alan B. Shepherd Middle School was moved to Deerfield High School, which has air conditioning.

To keep cool, city officials recommend residents:

–Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day.

–Avoid going out in the heat during the hottest part of the day.

–Take an occasional cool bath or shower to cool your skin and remove heat from your body.

–Wear light, loose-fitting clothing and wear a hat to protect your head.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Mike Krauser reports

If you have any questions or concerns about the heat, be it about cooling centers or concerns about an elderly neighbor, you can always call 311.

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