Scorching temps hit Chicago, officials urge caution - Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

Scorching temps hit Chicago, officials urge caution

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CHICAGO (Sun-Times Media Wire) -

If it were a festival, it could be called "A Taste of Summer." High temperatures and high humidity are combining this week to make even the briefest outdoor activities uncomfortable, and without precautions, potentially dangerous for area residents.

As of about 3 p.m. Tuesday, the official temperature in Chicago, recorded at O'Hare International Airport, was 91 degrees, according to the National Weather Service. The service had issued an alert to area residents that the heat index, which reflects how hot outdoor temperatures actually feel, could climb as high as 100 degrees.

Expectations are that heat indices will intensify throughout the week, possibly climbing as high as 101 or 102 by Friday, when thunderstorms are forecast to cool off the region.

"We've had hotter weather, but we're looking for temps into the low 90s," National Weather Service meteorologist Mark Ratzer said. "At least a couple times a summer we get this sort of thing." And it's not the heat or the humidity, but a combination of both, as well as urban environmental factors working to making us so uncomfortable.

While temperatures aren't expected to climb out of the 90s, factor in a high level of humidity and outdoor conditions will feel as though the mercury broke 100, according to weather service data.

In Chicago, latent heat absorbed by concrete, glass and steel means city-dwellers will not get the same reprieve as those in outlying areas. That means temperatures could be 5-10 degrees hotter in the city at night, Ratzer said.

The weather service, as well as area health departments, are urging people to take it easy and stay hydrated. Young children, the elderly and the infirm are advised to find a place with air conditioning and stay there.

"What we recommend is to take it easy," Ratzer said. "If you have to work outside, take breaks in the shade and drink a good amount of water. Otherwise, if you can, try to get into air conditioning to give your body a break."

Earlier Tuesday it was believed the heat and humidity, which first hit the area on Monday, may have played a role in the deaths of two people in Cook County. But autopsies found that a 60-year-old woman died of natural disease processes, while the cause of death for a 44-year-old man was pending the result of toxicology tests, according to the Cook County Medical Examiner's office.

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