Weather Chicago, IL: Senior citizens suffer without AC, officials urge caution amid heat dangers

Local weather includes possible temps in the high 90s

ByTre Ward, Liz Nagy, and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Wednesday, June 15, 2022
Senior citizens suffer without AC
Inside a 20-story tower on the city's West Side, 16 apartments don't have working air conditioning, leaving senior citizens suffering.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Sunset on a scorching pre-summer Tuesday brought little relief.

Inside a 20-story tower on the city's West Side, the Chicago Housing Authority confirmed 16 apartments don't have working air conditioning, leaving senior citizens suffering.

"My apartment was 92-point something. I've got a fan, but it doesn't do much good," said Dorothy Radcliffe, a19th floor resident. "Sometimes, tenants open their door at night to get the air out of the hallway."

While the city works on restoring the AC ,the housing authority offered up a bus for residents to get cool.

"They had people come up with some kind of temperature thing walking around... 'wow you're at 91.5,'" said Gregory Ellis, a 13th floor resident.

While the city works on restoring the AC the housing authority offered up a bus for residents to get cool.

ComEd said more than 13,000 remained without power Tuesday afternoon, down from a height of 125,000 after Monday night's storm left a trail of damage.

ComEd said workers are making the rounds, mostly in the north and northwest suburbs and the city, trying to restore electricity and order before sweltering temperatures make the task unbearable. Still, Tuesday night was rough for Broadview residents.

"It's pretty severe. A lot of power lines are down. Polls over here, utility poles over here were set on fire they they burned," said Bruno Carter, a Broadview resident.

From Brookfield to Broadview, neighborhood streets were lined with downed branches.

"No air, its just been bad. Very uncomfortable, it's just horrible," said Broadview resident LaSharon Williams.

A couple ABC7 spoke with in Broadview said that they stayed at their daughter's home last night because it was too unbearable to stay at their own home and they plan on doing that again Tuesday and Wednesday nights if they have to.

The heat even caused the pavement to buckle in west suburban Elmhurst Tuesday night. IDOT crews were making repairs on eastbound Roosevelt Road between Salt Creek and York road. IDOT Spokesperson Guy Tridgell believes it is the only incident so far in the Chicago area.

WATCH: Chicago OEMC gives tips to stay safe during heat wave

Chicago OEMC gave tips to stay safe during the heat wave.

As the warm front that set off the storm lifts north, temperatures will soar well into the 90s in the Chicago area on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications gave tips to stay safe Tuesday morning, ahead of the heat wave.

"Keep electric lights off or turned down, minimize use of your oven or stove, wear loose, light cotton clothing, take cool baths and showers. Don't leave anyone, including pets, in a parked car, even for a few minutes," said Rich Guidice, executive director with the Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

The city is reminding people to take precautions to avoid extreme heat emergencies.

When the humidity is factored in, it will feel as hot as 105 degrees and maybe even hotter in some places.

A Heat Advisory has been issued beginning Tuesday at noon until 8 p.m. Wednesday, according to the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. The advisory includes north central and northeastern Illinois, as well as portions of northwest Indiana.

An Excessive Heat Warning has been issued for central Cook, DeKalb, DuPage, Kane, northern Cook, southern Cook, eastern Will, Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, LaSalle, northern Will and Southern Will counties in Illinois and Lake, Porter and more counties in northwest Indiana until 8 p.m. Wednesday.

Officials warn that the hot temperatures and high humidity may cause heat illnesses, which could develop in less than 30 minutes after strenuous outdoor activity.

Residents are advised to take extra precautions, including drinking plenty of fluids, staying in air-conditioned areas and staying out of the sun. If possible, reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or in the evenings if you work or will be spending time outside. Wear lightweight and loose-fitting clothing when possible, as well.


"Do not underestimate the health risks of heat and humidity. They are dangerous, and, in some cases, can be deadly," said Dr. Jennifer Seo, chief medical officer at the Chicago Department of Public Health.

Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke.

Heat Stroke:

  • Confusion, altered mental status, slurred speech
  • Loss of consciousness (coma)
  • Hot, dry skin or profuse sweating
  • Seizures
  • Very high body temperature
  • Fatal if treatment delayed
  • Heat Exhaustion:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Irritability
  • Thirst
  • Heavy sweating
  • Elevated body temperature
  • Decreased urine output
  • Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool or shaded location, officials said. A heat stroke is an emergency, and 911 should be called.

    Residents in need of assistance during the extreme heat should call 311. Residents can also request a wellbeing check by downloading the CHI311 app, visiting or calling 311.

    They also recommend checking up on relatives and neighbors.

    WATCH: Expert's top concerns amid heat wave

    Edward Elmhurst Health Emergency Services Medical Director Dr. Tom Scaletta joined ABC7 to discuss his top concerns as a heat wave moves though Chicago.

    "We are partnering with the Department of Buildings on 311 and responding to calls for senior well-being checks and senior assistance regarding heat. This is a priority to Chicago," said Alisa Rodriguez, managing deputy commissioner with the Department of Family Services and Support.

    Doctors at Rush Medical Center cautioned people to be aware of their bodies and seek immediate medical attention if they start to get tired or even worse, experience a heat stroke.

    "The worst case scenario is actually having seizures and dying," said Rush Medical Center Physician Vinoo Dissanayake. "The fact that we actually know that cramps begin it all, and you can have nausea, vomiting, maybe light-headedness, dizziness, headaches... It could really be warning signs to you that you need to get to a cold place."

    The city of Chicago's cooling areas located at the city's six community service centers will be activated on Tuesday and Wednesday. The cooling areas operate from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mondays to Fridays. Visitors are required to wear a face covering while in the cooling areas. The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services will provide free face coverings for guests who do not have one and want to utilize the cooling areas.

    They're located at:

    - Englewood Center - 1140 W. 79th St.

    - Garfield Center - 10 S. Kedzie Ave.

    - King Center - 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave.

    - North Area Center - 845 W. Wilson Ave.

    - South Chicago Center - 8650 S. Commercial Ave.

    - Trina Davila Center - 4312 W. North Ave.

    During hours of operation, residents can also find relief in one of the city's more than 75 Chicago Public Library locations and more than 31 Chicago Park District fieldhouses as well as 176 splash pads.

    Public pools will be closed, however, for another 10 days, while the Chicago Park District works to hire more lifeguards.

    Last month during a spring heat wave, three women were found dead in a Rogers Park senior apartment building where other residents said they had started complaining to management of oppressively hot conditions days earlier.

    RELATED: Calls for cooling ordinance grow after 3 women found dead in Rogers Park senior apartment building

    "The important message I have here is we're out there. We're out there right now. We're out there before the heat wave came, and will be there through the heat wave and afterwards to make sure everyone is safe," Department of Buildings Commissioner Matthew Beaudet said.

    Officials also remind people to never leave young children or pets unattended in vehicles under any circumstance.

    Many got their walks, runs or bike rides in early Tuesday ahead of the high temperatures.

    "Crank the AC!" Molly Reed said.

    "Enjoy the summer while it lasts, so enjoy the heat," another person said.

    Even George, the dog, was getting his steps in.

    "Exactly, so he'll get some exercise in before it gets too hot. So yeah!" Reed said.

    Steve Brodwolf agreed.

    "Always, always before the heat. I'm out here 24/7, 365," he said.

    WATCH: Families beat the heat at aquatic center

    The weather for today in the Chicago area includes oppressive heat.

    Crowds of parents and kids also spent some time escaping the heat at Splash Country Aquatic Center in Aurora.

    "The pool is feeling amazing! We've been out here since 9 a.m.," said Jannet Martinez, a park-goer.

    With a lifeguard shortage in the area, the facility has been working hard to keep staffing up. It takes more than 30 lifeguards to keep the place open.

    "That means we usually have two shifts throughout the day, so we need 15 lifeguards in the morning and 15 lifeguards in the afternoon," said Splash Country Facility Manager Viktoria Orosz. "We try to really appreciate the staff that we got, and we keep recruiting."

    And while these folks are keeping cautious about the heat, they're also having fun while staying cool.

    "I have a baseball game, today. I'm going to be dying! So, I mean, this is heaven for me," said Quinn Humble, a park-goer. "Better than being out in the sun in 98 degree weather in full uniform, in full gear."

    An while humans can vocalize their discomfort, pets cannot. Veterinarians have been warning dog owners to watch for cues.

    "If it's too hot outside for you, it's probably too hot for your pet," said Dr. Emma Pearson of MedVet Chicago. "They should watch for excessive panting, especially if you get them back in the cool indoors, and not able to settle down, panting heavily, pacing... Heat stroke can have really serious consequences."

    The Dog Beach at Montrose Harbor has been packed with pups still acclimating to the season, and more than happy to do so with a little catch and release in the lake.

    "He knows he's on his way and as soon as we get out of the car, he makes a beeline for the water," said dog owner Harry Mitrovich.

    The Illinois Department of Transportation launched around-the-clock Hot Weather Patrols to more quickly locate and assist customers stranded along its roads during the dangerously high temperatures and humidity. The 24-hour patrols search for drivers stranded in disabled vehicles and respond to calls that come in to *999 motorist assistance, Illinois Tollway dispatch or Illinois State Police District 15.

    Due to the high temperatures, the Chicago Department of Transportation has canceled the scheduled Wednesday bridge lift and boat run.

    The National Weather Service said the heat should break toward the end of the week.

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