Chicago Weather: 3rd day in row of extreme heat

September 11, 2013 5:31:42 AM PDT
More schools enacted heat plans for Wednesday as unseasonable heat was expected to continue for the third day in a row.

Temperatures were forecast to reach into the 90s again Wednesday, but a cooler forecast is around the corner. School Closings: See the latest Chicago-area school closings

Classes are canceled for a second day on Wednesday at 20 schools in Indian Prairie District Number 204. The district includes Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield. Those schools do not have air conditioning.

In West Aurora School District 129, students will be dismissed early on Wednesday because of the heat. That district includes West Aurora, North Aurora, Sugar Grove and Montgomery.

Temps hit 95-degrees on Tuesday, tying the record for this date in Chicago.

"Tomorrow's kind of our transition day with a couple of showers, temperatures in the 80s," ABC7 Meteorologist Jerry Taft said. "The real cool air starts to move in on Thursday and Friday, so keep the jackets and sweaters handy. You're gonna need them by the end of the week."

Because the humidity was lower on Tuesday, the heat indices aren't much higher than the actual temperatures, making it feel more comfortable for most than Monday.

The high temperatures interrupted schools, challenged firefighters, and forced people who work outdoors to take breaks- and drink plenty of water.

"It's mind over matter. If you don't mind, it don't matter. Just focus on work," Jay Smith said.

"Being in the shade feels good. As long as you hydrate good, you can handle the weather," Michael Pickett said. His daughter agrees.

"I think I can go to the beach and swim," Yadah Pickett said.

The blast of heat came on the first day of the senior games, a two week athletic competition for people 55 and older sponsored by the Chicago Park District. The first event of Pickleball, a hybrid of tennis and ping pong, was played inside the Washington Park Fieldhouse, which has no air conditioning.

"Lots of water, and know within your boundaries, don't overdo it," Terry Bowman, pickleball player, said.

School closures, early outs in suburbs

Twenty schools in Indian Prairie School District 204, which includes Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook, and Plainfield are closed because many buildings don't have air-conditioning. Those closures left some parents scrambling to find child care.

"In the first two hours yesterday, after it was announced that school was gonna be closed, we got about 80 to 100 phone calls," Erika Wood, YMCA Safe and Sound Program in Naperville, said.

Seventeen schools in West Aurora District 129 are letting out early. That school is looking into installing more air-conditioners in its buildings.

"The school board has asked us to look at the possibility of air conditioning our seven elementary schools, our preschool, two middle schools and half of this high school here," Mike Chapin, District 129 West Aurora, said.

For the second time in as many weeks soaring temperatures have led to thousands of area students being dismissed early. In Waukegan, where only one of the district's 24 schools is fully air-conditioned, all 17,000 students started were let go ahead of time.

"They're out by 1:40. That's when the heat of the day sets in so that is the best time to release kids, because the heat is in the building and the kids have left for the day," Principal Barbara Steinseifer, Washington Elementary School, said.

Stuffy classrooms are hardly the ideal learning environment. At Waukegan's Washington Elementary, a second grade class kept the lights off and the shades down. There was a water bottle at each student's desk, and kids were moved around frequently to cooler areas...still, it was not enough.

"As the day goes on, even by 10 a.m. it starts to get really warm in here. The afternoons, it's even hard for me to concentrate during those times, so I know if must be hard for these guys," Danielle Gore, second-grade teacher, said.

"Sometimes, when it's hot I feel like I can't do stuff really well," Andy Acosta, second-grader, said.

Despite the inconvenience, parents picking their kids up today say they support the changed schedule.

"I think it's pretty good because they're thinking about the kids safety," Ron White, parent, said.


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