Chicago area braces for ‘dangerously hot conditions’ expected through Thursday

Temperatures Wednesday are expected to climb to near 100 degrees, forecasters said. When combined with humidity, heat index values could reach as high as 115 degrees. Thursday’s conditions will be similar.

SHARE Chicago area braces for ‘dangerously hot conditions’ expected through Thursday
Wu Yue, 7, with family on vacation in Chicago from Guangzhou, China, plays in the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park as a heatwave hits the Chicago area, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

Wu Yue, 7, with family on vacation in Chicago from Guangzhou, China, plays in the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park as a heatwave hits the Chicago area on Tuesday. The city’s cooling centers will be open from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

What’s that expression? “It’s not the heat, it’s the humidity.” Well, Chicago area residents can expect to deal with plenty of both in the next couple of days.

Officials across the region are preparing for what meteorologists say could be “dangerously hot conditions” Wednesday and Thursday.

The National Weather Service has issued an excessive heat warning for northern Illinois effective until 9 p.m. Wednesday, and an excessive heat watch from Wednesday evening through Thursday evening.

“An excessive heat watch means be prepared. An excessive heat warning means take action,” NWS said, advising residents in the affected areas to drink plenty of fluids, stay in air conditioned rooms and check on relatives and neighbors.

Temperatures Wednesday are expected to climb to 100 degrees, NWS said. When combined with humidity, the heat index values may reach as high as 115 degrees.

Meteorologists also said heat and humidity will linger into the night Wednesday, with temperatures falling only to the mid-70s after nightfall.

“The magnitude of anticipated heat, combined with oppressive warmth at night will lead to hazardous conditions, particularly for the elderly and those with pre-existing health conditions,” NWS said.

And it is expected to stay hot, as high temperatures and peak heat index levels on Thursday will be similar to Wednesday’s.

In response, Chicago Public Schools said it will move recess and outdoor activities indoors this week, and outdoor sports games and practices will be postponed Wednesday and Thursday.

“As a reminder, all CPS classrooms are equipped with air conditioning, and the CPS facilities team will be working with schools to fix any air conditioning systems that may encounter issues this week,” CPS CEO Pedro Martinez said in an email to all district families Tuesday.

(From left) Family members Ramneek Bola, 11; Jasmeen Bola, 16; Jasmeet Burmi, 7; Avleen Burmi, 9; and Avneet Burmi, 5, on vacation in Chicago from Canada, eat ice cream on steps near Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park as a heatwave hits the Chicago area, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023. | Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

From left: family members Ramneek Bola, 11; Jasmeen Bola, 16; Jasmeet Burmi, 7; Avleen Burmi, 9; and Avneet Burmi, 5, on vacation from Canada, have a cooldown eating ice cream on the steps near Buckingham Fountain.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The expected heat has also forced organizers to call off some outdoor events planned for later this week. In an email to the community, the Andersonville Farmers Market said Wednesday’s event was canceled.

In a statement, the Office of Emergency Management and Communication said the city’s cooling centers will be open 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday and Thursday. They are:

  • Englewood Center, 1140 W. 79th St.
  • Garfield Center, 10 S. Kedzie Ave. (open 24 hours)
  • King Center, 4314 S. Cottage Grove
  • North Area Center, 845 W. Wilson Ave.
  • South Chicago Center, 8650 S. Commercial Ave.
  • Trina Davila Center, 4312 W. North Ave.

The city is also activating additional cooling locations throughout the city. You can find a list here.

In addition, Salvation Army Corps Community Centers across the Chicago area will operate as cooling centers. To find the closest location, residents can visit salarmychicago.org and type in their ZIP code.

Evanston is also opening its four cooling centers through Friday. The city’s Health and Human Services Department declared a heat advisory for Wednesday and Thursday.

People ride Divvy bikes through the Loop as a heat wave hits the Chicago area, Tuesday, Aug. 22, 2023.

People ride Divvy bikes through the Loop as a heat wave hits the Chicago area Tuesday.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times

The Illinois Tollway is deploying its 24-hour hot weather patrols to help motorists stranded along its roads. The patrols search for drivers stranded in disabled vehicles and respond to calls for assistance.

The agency advised travelers to keep an emergency kit in their vehicle that includes water, and to make sure their engine fluids — particularly coolants — are at the proper levels before heading out.

There’s some relief from the heat expected just in time for the weekend, meteorologists said. Temperatures and humidity are expected to dip by Friday, with the day’s high temperatures landing in the mid-80s.

The Latest
Doctors used a spinal anesthetic to numb the patient from the chest down, eliminating the use of narcotics and general anesthesia, cutting recovery time. The patient, John Nicholas, was released within 24 hours of the procedure.
Officers responded to reports of a person shot in the 3300 block of South Roosevelt Road about 9:15 p.m. Sunday and found a 24-year-old man who had been shot several times, police said.
Officers responded to a call of a person shot in the 2800 block of South Kedzie Avenue about 6:25 p.m. Sunday and found a 23-year-old man who told them he had exchanged gunfire with others, police said. Earlier, three people were shot nearby, one fatally.
The Cubs dropped the series to the Mets and fell four games below .500.