Ready or not, here comes the heat

Temperatures in the city are expected to reach the high 90s by Friday, according to the National Weather Service.

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A gentleman rides his bike down the lakefront, Monday, July 24, 2023.

Temperatures in the Chicago area are expected to climb to the upper 90s by Friday.

Anthony Vazquez/Sun-Times

Now it’s our turn.

The blistering heat that has plagued much of the U.S. Southwest in recent weeks is heading our way, with temperatures expected to hit the high 90s in the city by Friday. The heat is expected to be short-lived, though.

“Luckily, we won’t have a whole lot of humidity,” said Kevin Doom, a National Weather Service meteorologist. “But when temperatures are this hot, you don’t need a ton of humidity to drive up the heat index.”

Doom said the temperature should “stair step” this week, reaching a high in the low 90s Tuesday, the same for Wednesday and then mid-90s by Thursday and possibly into the upper 90s for Friday.

Expect lows at night from the low to high 70s, Doom said.

“Things should cool off just in time for the weekend,” he said.

The jet stream pattern that’s led to a heat dome in the Southwest is moving toward us, Doom said.

“Luckily for us, before it’s actually able to center itself over the Midwest, it kind of flattens out and dwindles away. That’s why we’re not getting the super hot temperatures you’re seeing a little farther out to our west. Things are going to get pretty toasty, but nothing crazy — nothing Chicago hasn’t seen before,” Doom said.

Nicholas Cozzi, an emergency room doctor at Rush University Medical Center, said now is the time to keep a close eye on our most vulnerable friends and loved ones.

The elderly, very young and those who are homeless are among the most at risk, Cozzi said.

Symptoms of heat-related illness include lethargy, weakness in the body and dehydration.

Of particular concern is an inability to tolerate anything taken orally, any sort of confusion or a sense that your loved one isn’t acting like themselves, he said.

“Those are signs that the time of staying at home has passed, and you need to come to an emergency department,” Cozzi said.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency has declared an air pollution action day will be in effect Tuesday for the Chicago area. Particulate levels and ozone due to Canadian wildfire smoke are forecast to be at or above unhealthy for the sensitive groups category of the air quality index. Active children and adults, especially people with pulmonary or respiratory disease such as asthma, should limit prolonged outdoor activity.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management is reminding residents that cooling centers will be open across the city from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. all week. Visitors are required to wear a face mask, which will be made available for those who don’t have one.

Cooling centers are at Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th St.; Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave. [open 24 hours]; King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.; North Area Center, 845 W. Wilson Ave.; South Chicago Center, 8650 S. Commercial Ave.; and Trina Davila Center, 4300 W. North Ave.

The OEMC is also encouraging residents to find relief from the heat in city libraries and Chicago Park District field houses.

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