As the temperatures in the city cool down, the water in Lake Michigan heats up. (AP Photo/ Nam Y. Huh)
After three consecutive days of triple-digit temperatures, the Chicago area is finally getting a break as an excessive heat warning expires and temperatures dipped into the 80's Saturday afternoon.
“While the worst appears to be over, I urge Chicagoans to continue to be vigilant and check on their neighbors, particularly the elderly and individuals with medical conditions,” Gary Schenkel, Director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications, said at a Saturday evening news conference. “The effects of heat are cumulative,” he noted, in stressing the need for continued vigilance in such conditions
An excessive heat warning, which was in effect for all of northern Illinois and northwestern Indiana until 10 p.m. Friday and was extended into Saturday, expired at 4 p.m.
Around the same time the warning expired, the Cook County Medical Examiner's office confirmed the number of heat-related deaths had risen to 10 since Wednesday.
The outcome could have been much worse without the help and cooperation of the entire city, including Chicagoans, said Schenkel during the press conference. He was joined by the Commisioner of the Department of Family and Support Services Evelyn Diaz, who echoed his sentiments.
"By working together during this period of extreme heat, we were able to vastly increase our outreach and service efforts and touch many more people than we could have gone it alone," said Diaz.
Officials said Chicago Police conducted “thousands” of well-being checks on their own in the past week and a half, and said that agencies and non-profits working with the city’s Department of Family and Support Services completed 3,700 home visits.
Saturday morning began with hot temperatures, like the previous days, with mercury in the thermometer at O'Hare reading 97 degrees shortly before 10 a.m., according to the National Weather Service. But by late afternoon, the mercury had dropped to 81-degrees at O'Hare just before 5 p.m. thanks to a cold front making its way through Chicago.
Residents could not have been happier with the cooler weather.
“It’s much, much better today. It’s nice,” Rena Honorow, 49, of Chicago said. “There’s actually a breeze for the first time in days.”
As the cool air moves toward the lake, lowering temperatures to 69 degrees, there will be a chance for showers and thunderstorms, according to the weather service.
The cooler temperatures come as a welcome relief after two days of record breaking heat in Chicago.
Triple-digit temperatures from this week's heatwave raised the water temperature in Lake Michigan to 80-degrees.
Sunday is expected to dip to a more manageable high of 81, where temperatures should stay for much of the next week.