Chicago may not have hit the record of 100 Tuesday, but it sure came close. The mercury topped out at 99 degrees, according to the official temperature taken at O'Hare International Airport.
It marked the peak of Chicago's latest heat wave. A National Weather Service heat advisory remains in place until 10 p.m.
Tuesday marked the area's 27th day in the 90s.
The temperature at O'Hare climbed to 99 degrees with a heat index of 106 just before 3 p.m. Midway checked in at 96 degrees, and Waukegan and Gary hit 99 as well.
The National Weather Service predicts a 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 10 p.m., when a heat advisory expires.
The uncomfortable warmth and humidity are expected to continue overnight before thunderstorms and a cool front move in during late and overnight hours.
The rain would be a welcome sight for Illinois farmers and gardeners. The U.S. Drought Monitor recently declared the entire state of Illinois in some stage of severe or moderate drought.
That could be hard on residents' budgets. Experts say the lack of rain could drive up dairy product prices by about six percent, and beef prices, after falling briefly, by at least five percent. Corn and soybean products will be hit the worst, and experts say prices will soon spike 10 percent, perhaps more.
Temperatures have been 10 to 15 degrees higher than normal throughout the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic, according to the National Weather Service.
"Pray for rain," Gov. Pat Quinn said last week. "It's a good thing to do."
The Chicago Park District reported up to 10,000 trees in a stressed state without rain, and the Morton Arboretum's vice president of collections and facilities said the lack of rain is causing the “worst drought symptoms I have observed in my professional career."
Relief comes later this week in the form of mid 80s by Thursday and Friday and potential for scattered thunderstorms throughout Wednesday.