CHICAGO - The first day of fall felt more like summer as the Chicago area continued to see record-breaking temperatures on Friday.
Friday was homecoming night on the field at Morton West. Several high school students from Morton East and Morton West High Schools were overcome by the heat during a homecoming parade before a Friday evening football game. The two schools share a football team.
The Berwyn Fire Department said six people from the parade were taken to the hospital in good condition due to minor heat-related illnesses.
"First day of fall, who would have thought that homecoming would have been jackets and sweatshirts," said District 201 Associate Superintendent Timothy Truesdale.
But the Friday night lights were just adding to the unseasonably stifling air.
"I cut off the sleeves of my t-shirt," said Morton West sophomore Malik Houbaki.
"I'm kind of sweating right now and I'm just standing here," said Morton West junior Gabe Anderson.
What about the football players on the field?
"Oh they're going to be dying... I hope they have a lot of water," said Anderson.
Canceling the game was never a consideration, but the team took extra precautions to protect the players.
"Obviously making sure they're rotating kids in and out to make sure they're ok...getting plenty hydrated," said Truesdale.
"It was reallllly hot, ridiculously hot," said freshman Tiara Rodriguez.
Too hot for some students to handle.
During a pep parade Friday afternoon, firefighters had to treat six students who were overwhelmed by the heat.
"She was totally fine one minute and then she fell. Everyone was like oh she passed out," said Rodriguez.
Without the heat of the sun, and a few hours off, students showed up, re-hydrated and ready to cheer on the team, heat and all.
"This afternoon during our homecoming parade and rally approximately 10 students had heat related symptoms. Although an abundance of caution and measures were taken to ensure students and staff who participated were well prepared, and water was plentiful throughout the parade and rally, due to the heat some students required medical attention. Students and staff participating in the activities were instructed to inform an adult if they, or anyone they observed, were not feeling well. Personnel were on hand throughout the afternoon to help ensure anyone having difficulty was attended to," said District 201 Associate Superintendent Timothy Truesdale in a statement.
CHICAGOANS HEAD TO THE BEACH FRIDAY
Students overcome by heat
"I didn't think I'd be wearing shorts right now, sandals. I almost packed away all my stuff and brought out my sweaters. Thank God I didn't," said Chicagoan Besty Coleman.
Friday was the second hottest day on record for so late in the season and like a lot of people Ruth Longoria headed to 31st Street Beach where she took advantage of the hot weather.
According to Ed Hedborn at the Morton Arboretum, the heat along with a lack of rain could cause the fall color change to come early and end quickly.
Some of the plants like our sumacs and Virginia creeper, a vine, normally changes now and they are changing a bright red. Others, like a sugar maple, they have accelerated," said Ed Hedborn with the Morton Arboretum.
Friday's high temperature was 94 degrees, which broke the Sept. 22 record of 92 degrees, set in 1956. Friday was the second hottest day on record for so late in the season. The record for Sept. 23 is also 92 degrees, set in 1937. Saturday's high temperature is expected to reach 93.
FIREFIGHTERS STRUGGLE IN HEAT
Chicago firefighters battled the heat on two fronts Friday morning in the city's Fuller Park neighborhood.
Crews responded around 7:30 a.m. to a report of a fire at an apartment building in the 4900-block of South Wabash Avenue. Due to high temperatures and humidity, CFD called in additional crews and set up an area where firefighters could take a break and get hydrated.
"Our crews are just starting this morning. We bring in extra resources to make sure that they get rehabbed," CFD Deputy District Chief Jeffrey Horan said.
They will be sweating it out in their gear over the next several days, in 80- and 90-degree temperatures.
"Well, the cold weather you can always dress for. The hot weather, you can't dress for," Horan said.
TIPS FOR ALLERGY SUFFERERS
The only problem with this type of weather is it can make seasonal allergies worse. High levels of mold spores and increased pollen counts made for an unpleasant few days.
"We do have a little bit of high mold count because of the humidity that's out there right now. So people are suffering," said Dr. Baiji Malde, an allergist.
Allergy sufferers should keep their doors and windows closed. Experts also said taking a shower to wash the pollen off before bed could provide some relief.
Schwarz said the weather will slowly cool off for the Chicago area next week. High temperatures will be back in the low-to-mid 70s.
EARLY DISMISSAL FOR SOME SCHOOLS
Bradley School District 61 students will be dismissed early Friday due to excessive heat and high humidity.
In a letter posted on District 61's Facebook page at 4:43 p.m. on Sept. 20, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Scott A. Goselin said all schools will be dismissed earlier than usual on Thursday and Friday.
Since most building in the district do not have air conditioning, Goselin said hot weather could cause temperatures and heat indexes inside to reach levels that would make learning difficult in the afternoon.
Goselin said on Thursday and Friday, Bradley Central will dismiss at 1 p.m. Bradley East will dismiss at 1:30 p.m. Bradley West will dismiss at 2 p.m. PM pre-kindergarten students will not meet on either days.
The normal school schedule will resume Monday. Thursday and Friday will be considered full attendance days, the superintendent said.
Goselin asked parents to send their children to class in light clothing that adheres to the school dress code and with a bottle of water to stay hydrated. Water fountains are also available.