CHICAGO (WLS) -- Wednesday was another hot and challenging day for many because of an Excessive Heat Warning, but cooler temps are on the way.
However, now as the cooler weather moves in, so does the possibility of severe weather overnight.
The greatest storm threat is in the northwest suburbs as a cluster moves down from Wisconsin.
Storms are expected to reach the Chicago area around 8 p.m. and could see the most activity between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m., according to ABC7 Meteorologist Phil Schwarz.
Schwarz said many will see little to no rain. McHenry, DeKalb or northern Lake County (IL) will have the greatest chance of seeing a substantial downpour.
The greater threat is up in sections of Wisconsin, where there could be a significant tornado threat throughout the evening hours, Schwarz said.
The Excessive Heat Warning expired at 8 p.m. Wednesday.
"It's humid. You've got to open windows and get air," said Jasmine Barber. "I don't wanna go through this no more. I don't wish this upon nobody."
Sarah Gray said it is 90 degrees inside her home. She and her granddaughter have been spending most of their time in the basement to keep cool and sleeping at her daughter's home at night.
"7:00 p.m. Monday night is when the lights flickered and we've been off ever since," Gray said. "I'm from Alabama so I'm used to the heat, but not like this."
It's the same for Shirley Welch.
"When it gets this hot, it's hard to breathe and like I said with the elderly, I have to be careful with my mom. I cannot have her sit here," Welch said. "Oh, my God. It's been so hot these past few days. I've had to run out to a hotel room."
ComEd said there were 1,700 homes still without power from Monday's storm as of Wednesday afternoon. That's down from a height of 125,000 without power after Monday night's storm left a trail of damage. Over 1,000 ComEd crews have been working to restore homes and businesses Wednesday in the hardest hit areas: Maywood, Broadview, Westchester and Riverside.
"We've had more intense, worse storms in terms of impact. But restoration through this intense heat, that changes the dynamic of it," said ComEd Governmental Affairs Vice President Michael Fountain.
It was already extremely hot and sticky before the sunrise. On Tuesday, many hit the beach to beat the heat, and many will likely do the same on Wednesday. Crowds were seen lining the lake shore, seeking out the cool water in the blazing sun and heavy humidity.
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, a 19th 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.
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 Monday 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. Illinois Department of Transportation crews were making repairs on eastbound Roosevelt Road between Salt Creek and York road. IDOT spokesman 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
The warm front that set off Monday night's storm lifted north, which caused temperatures to 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 was 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 was 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.
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 311.chicago.gov or calling 311.
They also recommend checking up on relatives and neighbors.
WATCH: Expert's top concerns amid heat wave
"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.
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.
Still, the splash pad at Skinner Park was very popular among toddlers Wednesday morning.
And on the far North Side, people walking their dogs tried to beat the heat early in the day.
Maureen Smith was walking along Sheridan Road in Edgewater.
"It's warm, it's tolerable; whereas I'm not a heat person, I'm more of a winter person. When it gets up to the 90s, I really don't like it at all," she said.
But Nyenemo Sanguna disagreed.
"I prefer this heat over the brutal Chicago weather. I'm originally from Congo; it's a lot hotter here than it is in the Congo," the runner said.
One family got their kids to the park at 5 a.m. They have no plans to have their kids outside later.
"They will stay at home whole day, they will do activities; we can't take them out because it's very hot," Vipin Gupta said.
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.
"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.
Coast Guard issues Lake Michigan warning
The Coast Guard is also advising the public around Lake Michigan of severe thunder storms expected across the lake Wednesday evening and into Thursday.
"We urge all mariners to exercise extreme caution and prudence throughout the duration of this storm," said Capt. Donald Montoro, commander of Sector Lake Michigan. "Only go out on the water if absolutely necessary. Always wear your life jacket, ensure you have a working marine radio tuned to channel 16, and that you tell a family member or friend where and when you will be on the water."
The storms have potential to damage vessels, piers, mooring areas and coastal facilities, the Coast Guard said.
Anyone who sees a hazard to navigation on a navigable waterway is asked to call the Coast Guard Sector Lake Michigan Command Center at (414) 747-7182.
WATCH: Families beat the heat at aquatic center
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.