Updated: September 10, 2013 3:20PM
With the heat tied with a record high and expected to climb even higher Tuesday, the National Weather Service is warning most people to stay indoors. That means no school for some students throughout the city and suburbs, and slow trains for Metra riders.
A heat dome baking the middle of the country sent Tuesday temperatures soaring well into the mid-90s, according to the National Weather Service. As of 2:51 p.m., the high at O’Hare Airport was 95 degrees — the same temperature as the record set in 1983. The heat index, how hot it feels with humidity, was 97 at 2:51 p.m.
Temperatures could climb as high as 98 degrees, according to Richard Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service. That would make it the hottest day of 2013.
But by the end of the week, more-seasonal temperatures in the 60s will settle across the region, Castro said.
Metra issued a service alert on its website Tuesday advising riders that trains could be delayed 10 to 15 minutes because of the heat. Trains will have to operate at reduced speeds to compensate for heat-related stress to tracks and equipment, Metra said.
Although the air mass over the area is drier and will not result in the high humidity levels seen Monday, the Weather Service has issued a special weather statement warning that heat index levels could reach 100 degrees Tuesday afternoon.
That can cause “extra stress” on young children, elderly and ill, as well as those who work outdoors or in buildings without air conditioning, the statement said. That could make them susceptible to heat-related illness so they should limit time outside.
The weather service also warns that pets should be kept indoors.
Many suburban schools were closed Tuesday, and as many as 30 others planned shortened days because of the heat.
Indian Prairie School District 204 canceled classes at 19 elementary schools and Indian Plains High School, which don’t have conditioning. Crete-Monee Dist. 201-U also closed all schools Tuesday. In Chicago, the South Side’s Kwame Nkrumah Academy closed at 1 p.m.
Conditions Tuesday will be “similar to yesterday, with clear skies and really warm air mass,” Castro said. “It will not be as humid. That will be a saving grace.”
On top of that, the city did not cool off as much overnight as usual. Tuesday at 7 a.m., downtown temps were already at 80 degrees, he said.
However, as the week moves on, so will the scorching conditions. The weather this week will be the “tale of two seasons,” Castro said.
Wednesday will dip into the 80s, to be followed by the 70s on Thursday and possibly the 60s on Friday.