O’Hare, Midway hit 100 degrees; officials urge caution
BY STEFANO ESPOSITO and Josh McGhee Staff Reporters June 28, 2012 10:13AM
A woman stopped her van and reached into the spray from an open fire hydrant at Roosevelt and St. Louis Thursday June 28, 2012. | Rich Hein~Sun-Times
With the temperature expected to reach triple digits Thursday, here’s a look at the hottest days on record in Chicago:
• 105 degrees — July 24, 1934
• 104 degrees — June 20, 1953; June 20, 1988; July, 13 1995
• 103 degrees — July 21, 1901; July 1, 1956; June 25, 1988
Source: National Weather Service
Updated: July 30, 2012 6:20AM
Mother Nature served Chicagoans a ferociously hot day, but by late afternoon Thursday, it didn’t look to be one for the record books.
It reached 100 degrees at O’Hare Airport by about 3:19 p.m, but then the temperature dropped a degree, according to the National Weather Service. The record for this date is 101.O
Still, it’s the first triple-digit heat since 2005.
It reached 101 at Northerly Island, but that’s not considered an official climate site for the city, the weather service said.
Despite the heat, there didn’t appear to be a spike in weather-related illnesses or a deluge of visitors to city cooling centers, city officials said.
Though shy so far of the June 28 record of 101 set in 1971, it was hot enough that Metra was warning riders Thursday afternoon to expect delays of up to 15 minutes. Metra routinely orders its trains to reduce speed by 10 miles an hour below the posted speed for a given stretch of track when the temperature hits 95 degrees.
That’s because steel rails expand and contract as temperatures rise and fall, and on rare occasions of extreme heat, can experience what the agency calls “sun kink” — a curving of what’s usually a straight pair of rails.
The weather service’s heat advisory remains in effect until 8 p.m. Thursday.
Forecasters said that while O’Hare could still reach the century mark, a cold front is beginning to dip south into northern Illinois, and a lake breeze is expected to push inland from Lake Michigan. Both are expected to drive temperatures down several degrees later in the afternoon.
Officials urged people to stay out of the heat if possible.
“I want to state in the clearest terms that extreme heat and humidity are not just an inconvenience, they are dangerous and can be deadly,” said Dr. Julie Morita, deputy commissioner of the Chicago Department of Public Health.
City officials put an emphasis on staying cool and keeping an eye out for those particularly vulnerable to extreme heat: the elderly and the disabled.
“We ask that everyone be a good neighbor and check on the well being of their neighbors and relatives who may be susceptible to the weather conditions . . . ,” said Gary Schenkel, executive director of the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.
Schenkel urged residents concerned about a vulnerable neighbor to call 311 for a well-being check or a ride to a city cooling center.
◆Avoid being out in the heat during the hottest part of the day.
◆Drink plenty of water.
◆Don’t drink alcohol, caffeine and sugary drinks.
◆Take a cool bath or shower — or cool off with a wet cloth or sponge.
Because of the heat, Chicago’s public schools canceled summer-school classes Thursday at 12 elementary schools that don’t have air-conditioning: Altgeld, Attucks, Bennett, Courtenay, Faraday, Gregory, Holden, Penn, Stevenson, Harold Washington, Pope and Jahn. Classes are expected to resume Friday.
During 140 years of weather record keeping, Chicago has had just 61 days at or above 100, according to the weather service. The last one was July 24, 2005, when it reached 102. The all-time high for the city is 105, recorded on July 24, 1934.
In 1953, 1988 and 1995, it reached 104. And in 1901, 1956 and 1988, it reached 103, according to the weather service It rarely gets hotter in the city than it’s expected to be Thursday.