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Temps hit 88 Saturday for Chicago’s hottest day of the year so far

Temps hit 88 degrees Saturday at O’Hare, with more heat expected in the coming week.

People bike around Montrose Harbor Tuesday, when temperatures topped 80 degrees. Saturday could be the city’s hottest day of the year so far.
People bike around Montrose Harbor Tuesday, when temperatures topped 80 degrees. Saturday could be the city’s hottest day of the year so far.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

Chicagoans headed outdoors Saturday as temperatures hit 88 degrees at O’Hare Airport — making it the hottest day of the year so far, according to the National Weather Service.

Many Chicagoans chose to soak up the sunny weather at the city’s beaches. Kelly Bennett, 43, who lives in Edgewater, spent the morning at Rogers Park’s Hartigan Beach and playground with her family.

“Nice to have the turn [in weather] for sure, especially now that we all can walk around without our masks on if we’re vaccinated, so that’s really nice for going to the beach this year,” Bennett said.

Phalguni Shah, 27, who lives in Rogers Park, was at Hartigan Beach with friends from out of town.

“We’re happy because the weather is gorgeous,” Shah said.

Desirea El, Myshawn Strayhorne and Josiah Otis stand in front of the Buckingham Fountain Saturday evening in Grant Park. The iconic city fountain was turned on for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started on Saturday.
Desirea El, Myshawn Strayhorne and Josiah Otis stand in front of the Buckingham Fountain Saturday evening in Grant Park. The iconic city fountain was turned on for the first time since the COVID-19 pandemic started on Saturday.
Pat Nabong/Sun-Times

It’s well above the average of 73 degrees for this part of May, but there was no threat of breaking the city’s scorching 94-degree record set in 1925, according to Brian Leatherwood, a meteorologist for the weather.

Leatherwood said Chicago and the northern counties may be the only ones to feel relief Sunday, thanks to cold air moving down Lake Michigan from the northeast — called a “back door front” because air fronts typically come in from the northwest.

The front could shove “a lot of cold air into the city, but it doesn’t go very far,” Leatherwood said.

Either way, it won’t last long. The city is set to bounce back Monday with highs into the mid-80s, according to Leatherwood. The next drop might be mid-week, with longer-lasting temps in the 60s and 70s.

The National Weather Service advises people to drink plenty of fluids, wear sunscreen and stay in the shade or get indoors where it’s cooler. Leatherwood also advised Chicagoans to be careful about jumping into Lake Michigan this time of year.

“The lake itself is still cool, in the lower 50s or 40s,” Leatherwood said, advising people to stay out of the water. “It might be a shock to their system. It’s not quite summertime yet, especially for the lake.”