Hot Times, Cooler in the City

Stifling heat tightened its grip on Chicago for the third day Tuesday, but there was good news for folks near the lake.

Winds off of Lake Michigan brought some relief from 90-degree inland highs. At around 3 p.m. Tuesday, the temperature at Northerly Island registered at 78 degrees, a bit more comfortable than the 91 degrees at O'Hare International Airport and the 95 degrees recorded in West Chicago.

The breeze off Lake Michigan produced fog -- advection fog -- that reduced visibility and forced a swim ban at most of Chicago's beaches.

Isolated -- extremely isolated -- thunderstorms are possible Tuesday night. Many people in the area will likely not see rain. NBC Chicago meteorologist Ginger Zee said there's just "unsettled atmosphere that could pop a little storm here and there, but not a mass of rain that will cover us all."

The lake breeze will only help the downtown Chicago area through Tuesday night.  By Wednesday, everyone in the area will likely meet or exceed excessive heat criteria for watches and warning, with a heat index predicted between 105 and 115 degrees.

The heat persists through Saturday with no relief from 90-degree temps and heat indexes near 100. 

Chicagoans, especially those who have to work outside, are struggling to adjust.

"It's excruciating, man. It can get to you sometimes. Just your legs and your back. Just gotta keep moving," said Nathan Alexander, who was part of a moving crew on a job Monday near the University of Chicago.

Still, city officials had a stern reminder:  don't open fire hydrants in an attempt to keep cool.

The area's cooling centers are a better option.

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