Sweltering Chicagoans find relief at the lake, pools and fountains

Families turned out on the first day that Chicago Park District pools opened. Others had a splash at the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park. The city could reach 90 degrees for seven straight days, with very little cool down overnight.

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Beverly residents cool off at Kennedy Park public pool on Monday, June 17, 2024 at 4:48 pm

Families turned out Monday at Kennedy Park, the first day that all 77 Chicago Park District pools opened for the season. The city is also offering six cooling centers where vulnerable people can escape the heat.

Layla Brown-Clark/Sun-Times

Chicago Park District pools opened Monday, just in time to provide residents a respite from the oppressive heat.

Children and families enjoyed leisure time at the pool at Kennedy Park in Morgan Park. For this week only, the pool is open to adults, seniors, youth and teens until the start of summer camp the next week.

Sherelle Slaise, 48, of Beverly, has plans to spend the summer outdoors with her children.

“I needed a break from work, and I wanted my children to get out of the house and enjoy the summer,” Slaise told the Sun-Times on Monday. “I knew that once they got out of their environment at home, they’d have a good time here.”

In addition to visiting pools, Slaise also plans many trips to the lakefront.

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Children and families cool down in the Crown Fountain in Millennium Park on Monday afternoon. Temps in Chicago have reached the 90s for two days in a row, and forecasters say the heat will persist until the end of the week.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

“I play volleyball on the lake, and I’m going to get in the water, which is refreshing,” Slaise said.

This heat wave will last through the week, the National Weather Service said.

Jacqueline Gibson, 54, from Philadelphia has been visiting friends in the Beverly area for two weeks. She left Philadelphia to escape the heat, only to encounter a heatwave in Chicago.

“I was going to stay for the entire summer, but I’m going to go home and may return back in July. It looks like both cities are having a heat wave, and when I go back, we’ve got 100-degree weather coming up the next couple of days,” Gibson told the Sun-Times.

Back in Philly, she plans to ride out the heat wave inside with air conditioning on full blast.

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The Crown Fountain offers a respite from Monday’s heat. Weather forecasters say there won’t be much of a cooldown at night, as temperatures will hover into the 70s for the duration.

Tyler Pasciak LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Jake Petr, lead meteorologist with the weather service in Chicago, told the Sun-Times, “Our outlook for the next three to four weeks from the Climate Prediction Center says that the probability of above-normal temperatures is fairly high. It’s in the 60% to 70% range.”

Looking for spaces to cool off will be imperative as the high temperatures persist.

The Chicago Salvation Army Corps and the Chicago Department of Family and Support Services have opened accessible cooling centers across the city.

The Salvation Army Corps plans to operate its 17 cooling centers daily until the heat wave subsides. More locations will soon be open, and all available cooling center locations can be found via their website at SalArmyChicago.org.

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The park surrounding the Illinois Centennial Memorial Column in Logan Square was empty Monday.

Jim Vondruska/For the Sun-Times

The city’s Department of Family and Support Services has activated six community service centers. They will be open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. for those needing shelter from the heat.

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications encourages all residents to be prepared for extreme heat and severe weather.

The heat index measures the combination of heat and humidity. The National Weather Service is forecasting “major” to “extreme” risk of health impacts from the heat and humidity. The heat index is expected to rise above 100 this week.

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A coconut ice cream vendor shields herself from the harsh sun outside Armitage Produce in the 2000 block of North Kimball Avenue in Logan Square on Monday.

Jim Vondruska/For the Sun-Times

To stay safe, OEMC recommends:

  • Staying hydrated
  • Staying inside with air conditioning on
  • Keeping shades and blinds closed if you do not have air conditioning
  • Keeping electric lights off and turned down
  • Limiting the use of the ovens or stoves
  • Wearing loose or light clothing
  • Taking cool baths and showers
  • Not leaving anyone, including pets, in a parked car

Editor’s note: This article was updated to correct that Kennedy Park is in the Morgan Park neighborhood.

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