Heat Wave Has Local Residents Taking Extra Steps To Stay Cool
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UPDATED 06/19/12 – 3:50 p.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — The sweltering heat continues for a second day Tuesday, as temperatures again climb into the 90s and humidity makes it feel as hot as 100 degrees.
As of 3:40 p.m., it was 93 degrees at O’Hare International Airport, and only a few degrees cooler at the lakefront, where it was 89. The high for the day is 95, with heat indices approaching 100, and more strong southwest winds that will feel like blasts of steam.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports
The wind is from the landlocked west, and thus, there is no lakefront cooling.
CBS 2’s Suzanne Le Mignot reports, on a day like Tuesday, a spot in the shade and a something cold to eat is ideal, but CBS 2 found some young girls who were having fun, regardless of the heat.
The soaring temperatures weren’t fazing the girls at Junior Blazers summer camp at Trinity High School in River Forest. These camp goers found a creative way to stay cool: water balloon fights.
“It’s pretty fun,” Claire Hanley said. “It’s nice on a hot day, because you get splashed with the water balloons when they pop.”
Camp director Susie Bedell said, with the hot weather, organizers had to get creative to keep kids cool.
“Every day, we have a different activity that we have scheduled at the Junior Blazers Camp; and then sometimes, Mother Nature just says, you’ve got a different plan for them,” she said.
Mother Nature was definitely playing a role in how camp goers at Trinity were dealing with the heat. Fans were in use in parts of the building without air conditioning, like the auditorium. The majority of the school was built in 1926.
Drama camp goer Cheyenne Scott said, “It’s just a normal day. You don’t even pay attention, because it’s warm. It’s like nothing bothers you because you’re having fun.”
Fans were also going full speed inside the art class, where students were creating their own books.
In the pre International Baccalaureate Spanish summer class, students had air conditioning.
Student Nora Coty said it felt great.
“My friend’s in the other class. It was really hot. She came in here for a couple of minutes, just to make sure, just so she was cool,” Coty said.
Sister Michelle Germanson, president of Trinity High School, said “Somehow I think we underestimate the power of the young person to cope with whatever’s happening. But also, you have to have something that engages them, and if they’re excited and happy, and if a teacher’s motivated them, that takes care of itself.”
She also said there are a number of Trinity High board members working to get donations from individuals and corporations, to make sure the entire school can have air conditioning.
Plenty of others were beating the heat by heading to the beach for a dip in Lake Michigan.
“I’m always cold, so this is the weather I enjoy,” said Edna, who was sitting in the shade at the beach on Tuesday.
She said she prefers hot weather, even if it gets up to about 100 degrees.
“I don’t care. I love it,” she said with a laugh. “This is my kind of weather.”
She went for a dip earlier in the day, and said the water felt fine.
“The sun is hot, and I can enjoy it,” she said.
Meanwhile, when the Cubs and White Sox face off for the second game of the Crosstown Classic at U.S. Cellular Field, CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist said the temperature will still be hovering at 89 degrees for the first pitch at 7:10 p.m., with southwest winds at 10 to 20 mph and gusting up to 30 mph.
And the overnight low is expected to drop to 77, but might not drop below 80 in the city of Chicago. Kleist said Tuesday night could even set a record for a high overnight low.
Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications manager Robert Troy reminded everyone to take proper precautions in the heat.
Troy advised that anyone without air conditioning can call 311 to be directed to a cooling center. Official city cooling centers include public libraries, police stations, and facilities run by the Department of Family and Support Services.
Chicagoans were also advised to take precautions when it comes to pets, particularly in transportation.
“It’s always bad – there’s never a safe amount of time to leave a dog, or a human for that matter, in a parked hot car,” Troy said. “It takes only a matter of minutes before it can become dangerous.”
Chicagoans remember well that heat has taken a deadly toll in the past. In July 1995, the temperature rose to 106 degrees, and was blamed for about 750 deaths in a period of four days.
Troy emphasized that the city has developed systems to prevent such a tragedy since then.
“We have a coordinated program, for all city agencies to deal with extreme weather – whether that weather be extreme heat, severe weather or extreme cold – so right now, of course, we’ve been dusting off and making sure that everybody within the city is up to date and has reviewed their extreme heat plans, so we coordinate in our communication with the other different city agencies, and our partners at the National Weather Service, on a daily basis,” Troy said.
The heat will subside – at least to a point – as the week goes on. Kleist says the high for Wednesday is still a steamy 94, but on Thursday, a cold front will pass through and bring rain, cutting the high down to 84.
The high for Friday is 82, Saturday 84 again, Sunday 82, and Monday of next week 79.