Suburban residents seek relief from heat

June 24, 2009 4:24:05 AM PDT
The heat advisory for a large part of the Chicago area remains in effect until 7 p.m. Wednesday.Counties that border the lake are not affected because of an on-shore breeze.

The heat is especially unbearable in a western suburb on Tuesday night where residents dealt with a power outage.

ComEd estimated that about 1,000 homes were without power on Tuesday night in Glen Ellyn. Emergency crews were on the scene since 4:30 p.m. working to try to fix the problem. In the meantime, a number of residents were evacuated and were unable to return to their homes.

Sparks from the downed power line apparently ignited the gas line underneath shooting flames toward the sky. It prompted the fire department to evacuate residents from nearby homes as well as 18 units in an apartment building.

The heat made it a bad day to lose power and especially air conditioning.

"Nicor Gas said it was just a crack from the electric fried some of the water pumps back in the main and it just erupted from there," said Alex Loisi, landlord.

"Fumes were coming into the windows from the fire so we went ahead and got out anyway. We didn't have power and it's cooler out here anyway," said Eric Jorgenson, resident.

Elswhere, the heat caused the pavement on Route 59 to buckle, quite a hazard for drivers.

Around the area all the day people did what they could to try to stay cool. That made places like Cook County's Cermak Aquatic Facility very popular with families.

"If you could take a day off or play hooky, this is the place you want to be. It's nice and cool by the water, getting out of the heat for a while," said Roman McGhee.

"It's so hot, we just had to get out here and cool off," said Hilda Alvarez.

The Elmhurst Little League went ahead with scheduled games on Tuesday night. But parents brought plenty of fluids and felt better as the sun faded behind the trees.

"It's really hot today. The kids are jus dying. We even in the pool and that was the only thing that really gave us relief today," said Jeanne Thomas.

Officials say the power outage in Glen Ellyn could have been caused by the heat or the weekend storms. Nicor was able to shut off the gas on Tuesday night.

ComEd was working to fix the electricity.

Heat advisory in effect in suburban counties

The dog days of summer have arrived but it's still a welcome change for people who have been waiting for the weather to warm up.

"It doesn't really feel like summer. Especially since school is over and we were expecting warm weather, pool-side time but it never really got to happen. So I'm happy it's warm," said Isha Mishra, Naperville resident.

Mishra and her friends are hanging out by the dandelion fountain in Naperville, which became a magnet on Tuesday for kids to cool off.

"I didn't even turn my air on. I love the hot stuff," said Dawn Johnson.

"I'm happy it's here but I feel like we totally missed spring and we're right into the middle of summer," said Cindy Daetwiler.

Because of the warm-up with temperatures in the 90's, a heat advisory has been issued until Wednesday evening for suburban Chicago and the collar counties of DuPage, Will, and McHenry. The city of Naperville is respondinb by making many public buildings accessible as cooling centers.

"We offer a nice, safe air conditioned environment for them to stay in," said Nadja Lalvani, Naperville Community Relations.

Also, well-being checks on the young and elderly are encouraged as well as limiting activity.

"If you do venture out, try to wear light, loose fitting clothing and avoid the high heat times, between 10 and 2 o'clock," said Lalvani.

But one family visiting the Chicago area has a lot on their agenda. The Asnes family is from Oklahoma where it is hotter than here.

"We went to Chicago to get away from the heat," said Steve Asnes.

To avoid health complications from this extreme heat, the public is advised to drink plenty of fluids and avoid spicy foods or heavy meals. Also residents should wear loose fitting clothing and limit sun exposure.

If you have strenuous work to do outside, plan it for the early morning or in the evening. Stay inside from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., the hottest part of the day.

Heat exhaustion symptoms include pale and clammy skin, heavy perspiration, dizziness, weakness, headache or cramps, nausea and fainting.

Symptoms of heat stroke are high body temperature, skin that is red and dry, rapid pulse and loss of consciousness. Heat stroke can be deadly if untreated.


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