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Another Day Of Extreme Heat; Problems Arising For Commuters

Metra Commuters

Metra commuters look with frustration at departure boards after an overheated drawbridge halted the SouthWest Service train Tuesday. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 06/20/12 12:22 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — The 90-plus-degree heat wave continues in Chicago, and the heat could cause some problems for your morning commute.

CBS 2 Meteorologist Mary Kay Kleist says the high for the day, yet again, is 95 degrees – and the heat index will make it feel like 100.

As of 11:20 a.m., it was 88 degrees at the lakefront, 86 at O’Hare International Airport, and 84 at Midway.

Wednesday is also the first day of summer, but it feels like summer has been with us for months. There have already been 12 days this year on which the temperature has hit 90 degrees.

And as CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, the heat is causing some trouble for commuters. Metra trains have been delayed because drawbridges are overheating.

On Tuesday evening, for the second night in a row, the SouthWest Service train to Will County was disrupted because the drawbridge just beyond Union Station was stuck because of the heat.

The bridge over the South Branch of the Chicago River near Chinatown overheated on Monday, stopping the 6:55 p.m. train by 15 minutes.

But on Tuesday, the 8:10 p.m. train had to turn around and go back to Union Station.

The train was delayed about an hour, and frustrated passengers stood around checking the departure boards. Metra had to send for the Fire Department to get hoses and cool off the bridge.

Also, drivers have been dealing with headaches in Wheeling. Three major roadways – Milwaukee Avenue, Lake Cook Road and Hintz Road – buckled Tuesday because of the heat.

WBBM Newsradio’s Bob Roberts reports first, at about 3:45 p.m., Milwaukee Avenue developed a buckle northbound near Dundee Road. Within 10 minutes, the second occurred on eastbound Lake-Cook Road at Weiland Road. And Wheeling Public Works Director Tony Stavros said the third occurred about 4:20 p.m. on Hintz Road westbound near Wolf Road — as he drove over it.

“Better me than someone else, I guess,” he said.

Hintz and Lake-Cook Roads are maintained by Cook County, while Milwaukee Avenue is the state’s responsibility, but Stavros said he fielded a lot of calls. He said despite emergency cold-patching, each is a pretty good “speed bump,” and said he has been told that some of the repairs may take until Thursday to complete.

Meanwhile, officials remind everyone that if they need a cool air-conditioned place to stay, there are dozens of cooling centers across the city of Chicago, as well as Lake County, Ind., and all over the suburbs of Chicago.

Call 311 if you need to find the closest cooling center near you.

And finally, the good news. Kleist says a cold front is coming in overnight, bringing thunderstorms and cutting the high down to 84 on Thursday. But not everybody will actually see the rain.

The high for Friday is 82, Saturday 81 with another chance of storms, Sunday 82, Monday 77 and Sunday 79.