Chicago sets a record high Wednesday — but too soon to say if hot May weather means scorching summer

Wednesday also marks the earliest date that temperatures at O’Hare reached 90 degrees since 2011, according to the National Weather Service.

SHARE Chicago sets a record high Wednesday — but too soon to say if hot May weather means scorching summer
People sit and walk down the riverwalk in the loop, Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

People sit and walk down the riverwalk in the loop, Wednesday, May 11, 2022.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Chicago set a new record high temperature Wednesday, but meteorologists say it’s too early to tell if that means we can expect a scorching summer.

The temperature reached 90 degrees at O’Hare International Airport at 11:30 a.m., breaking the previous record high of 89 degrees for May 11 set in 1982, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Matt Friedlein.

Wednesday also marks the earliest date that temperatures at O’Hare reached 90 since 2011, Friedlein said. It is only the third time in 50 years that Chicago hit 90 this early in the year.

In 2011, temperatures climbed to 90 degrees on May 10. In 1980, temps reached that mark on April 22, Friedlein said.

Humidity farther inland around Rockford and Pontiac was causing heat index readings to peak near 100 degrees on Wednesday.

The hot May weather this week doesn’t necessarily mean the Chicago area should expect a particularly hot summer, Friedlein said.

“It’s tough to say right now, just five days ago we were considerably cooler, so the abrupt change is pretty noteworthy but it’s tough to have any approximation on the summer,” Friedlein said.

The good news for residents near the lakefront is a lake breeze is expected to cool down temperatures by a few degrees, Friedlein said. Areas further inland will experience less of a cool-down.

The rest of the week is expected to be warm but not as humid. Air off the lake again Thursday and Friday shoul help ease high temperatures, Friedlein said, but mid-to-high 80s will still be expected on those days for inland areas.

Saturday’s high temperatures will be near 73 degrees and there is also a chance for thunderstorms.

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