Chicago temps cool off -- to 90s

July 8, 2012 5:26:08 AM PDT
Chicago's historic heat wave finally ended Saturday.

After three days of 100-degree-plus weather, the temperature Saturday hit only hit 98 at O'Hare International Airport before falling.

While it was still hot in the suburbs -- with many reaching the 100-degree mark -- the cool spot was at the lake, where the temperature was in the 70s late in the afternoon.

A cold front was moving in Saturday but not before this week's heat wave claimed the lives of at least 10 people.

ABC7 meteorologist Phil Schwarz said temperatures for the next few days will be more pleasant, hovering in the low to mid 80s.

On Saturday evening, people were relishing in the relief.

"Relief, finally," said Erin Butler. "I think it's finally time to sit and relax with people and not just be melting."

It was cool enough to dance at West Fest in Ukranian Village. Organizers set up sprinkler tents but few needed them.

"It's relaxing, great Saturday afternoon," said Meghan McMahon. "Weather's beautiful. A little wind never hurt anybody, and the heat break is phenomenal."

Despite a break in the heat, the city's emergency operations center remained open Saturday night.

"We will continue to do well-being checks," said OEMC executive director Gary Schenkel. "This is a cumulative effect that lasts a while even after the temperature itself goes down. So we will continue to monitor that."

The Cook County Medical Examiner confirmed at least 10 heat-related deaths.

Jacqueline Wallace, 64, is not listed by the medical examiner as one of them. But her son said he found her dead Friday in her sweltering near West Side apartment.

"I'm beating on the door. And management, when they came and let me in, it was like over 100 degrees in there," Jacques Wallace said.

Wallace was the second person in as many days to be found dead at the Hotel Royalton, a single room occupancy building. The other death was confirmed as heat-related.

Despite the extreme heat, ComEd said the area did not set a record for power usage.

More than 150 transformers failed because of the heat, less than 1 percent of the total. Most of the 50,000 customers who lost power are back online.

Heat stresses everything, stresses all kinds of equipment," said Fidel Marquez, ComEd senior vice president. "And as usage increases, it also stresses electrical equipment, and that is the source of those transformer fires."


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