Thursday Hot, But Not a Record-Breaker

Heat advisory was the first for the Chicago area in seven years

By Kim Vatis and Lisa Balde
|  Thursday, Jun 28, 2012  |  Updated 11:21 PM CDT
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    Temperatures rose to 100 degrees as a Chicago area heat advisory went into effect for the first time in seven years.

    But the severe heat didn't break any records.

    Highs reached 99 at O'Hare and 100 at Midway and the lakefront, not quite beating the 101-degree record set in 1971. Humidity levels made those temps feel record breaking though, with heat indexes of up to 109 degrees, according to NBC Chicago meteorologist Brant Miller.

    At noon, Midway International Airport readings were 95 degrees and a heat index of 100. O'Hare Airport saw noon temps of 93 that felt like 99. 

    Those temperatures rose by 2:30, with Midway reaching its 100 degree high and O'Hare topping out at 99.

    Illinois officials urge residents to stay indoors and well hydrated during the heat advisory, which remains in effect until 8 p.m.

    Those without air conditioning are encouraged to call 311 to find the nearest cooling center. Experts advise wearing light-colored and loose-fitting clothing, and taking care of neighbors, elderly and pets.

    The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Cook, Kane and DuPage counties Thursday afternoon which lasted until 6:15 p.m. Lifeguards at North Avenue Beach ordered swimmers out of the water after the warning, due to the stormy conditions.

    Older residents took refuge from the heat Thursday morning at the Central West Senior Center on Chicago's West Side, where they played cards and ate lunch in air conditioning. Some Pilsen residents struggled to stay cool, relying on box fans and even living in the dark.

    "I'm going to bring a towel soaked in ice and a bucket of ice and try to keep cool," said Alan Kubicz. "We'll make it, we'll survive."

    Nearly a dozen Chicago Public Schools canceled classes today for the dangerous weather. As of noon the Office of Emergency Management confirmed there were no heat-related emergencies.

    The heat isn't over after Thursday. Roman predicts an overnight low of 78 degrees, and temperatures are expected to hold in the low- to mid-90s through the weekend.

    The heat puts more pressure on an area already dealing with drought-like conditions. Chicago saw only a half-inch of rain in June, about 2.5 inches less than usual.

    Orland Park and Orland Hills are among multiple suburbs with odd-even watering restrictions in affect, and some Fourth of July fireworks displays could be in jeopardy if rain doesn't come.

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