Chicago weather: Temperature records tied and broken over 2-day heat wave

Buffalo Grove HS closed Thursday due to HVAC problems

ByJessica D'Onofrio, Maher Kawash, Leah Hope, Evelyn Holmes, Eric Horng, and Rob Hughes and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Friday, August 25, 2023
Chicago area breaks records during 2-day heat wave
The Chicago area broke records as it baked under a heat dome for two days. Cooler air finally started moving in Thursday night.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Temperatures at O'Hare officially hit 100 degrees Thursday afternoon for the first time since 2012, as a heat dome continued to bring dangerous heat and humidity to the area.

The high temperature also ties Chicago's daily high temperature record for August 24 set in 1947.

Chicago heat wave safety: Cooling centers, heat related illness symptoms and treatment, and other ways to stay cool

Chicago broke and tied several records in this two-day heat wave.

The heat will break later Thursday evening, with a cold front sliding down the lake. By 1:30 p.m., temperatures in Milwaukee ad already dropped to the low 80s.

ABC7 Meteorologist Larry Mowery said the front will arrive in the Chicago area between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. from lakeside to the south. It's possible a few thunderstorms could develop along that front, and the area is under a low but not nonexistent threat for severe weather. The main concern would be high winds that could accompany any thunderstorms that develop, but the higher likelihood of storms is to the east.

While it will remain muggy and hot Thursday night, it will be noticeably cooler on Friday with highs in the 80s inland and in the upper 70s along the lake.

The Cubs and Wrigley Field said they have taken precautionary measures for Thursday night's Guns n Roses concert. There will be misters on the upper deck on the right and left field patios, and cooling stations set up at several locations including the Marquee Gate, Gallagher Way Gate and right field concourse. There will also be a cooling bus on Waveland Avenue, which can be accessed from the left field Budweiser Bleacher concourse.

Attendees are encouraged to stay hydrated and factory-sealed water bottles will be allowed into into the ballpark.

It was a battle to stay cool in all parts of the city Thursday, and a number of local organizations were out doing anything they could to help those most in need.

Residents of Westmore Apartments in Garfield Park don't have working air conditioning in their units, but volunteers form My Block My Hood My City came with box fans to help keep them cool.

Many people who live there are older and don't have the means or access to some cooling resources the city offers.

"To have them come out and do this, it's an absolute blessing," said Athena Roserio, Westmore employee. "There's only so much we have to give them in our pockets, but this right here is going to help them feel and have some kind of normalcy."

"We like to think of ourselves as the Red Cross of the hood, we like to make sure we're hitting everything," said Ilandrea Nichols, service coordinator for My Block My Hood My City.

And for many people with respiratory conditions, this weather can be problematic. Doctors advise finding a clean area of your home to relax in, and avoid any dust or candles that can make it harder to breathe. It's important to keep kids indoors if they have asthma.

"Kids with asthma, they always want to go outside and run around, right, so limit their exposure outside, limit the time they're out there, but make sure they have their rescue medication with them if they are asthmatic," said Dr. Steve Mosakowski, RUSH University Medical Center.

Thursday morning, cooling buses were parked in front of the Gage Park Fieldhouse where 300 migrants are temporarily being housed.

Wednesday night the huge air conditioning units stopped working there, leaving people inside sweltering.

"So we are able to work with OEMC to get the cooling buses out here trying to get the repairs done to the air conditioning units which are massive one ton units behind gage park," 15th Ward Alderman Ray Lopez said.

ComEd asks some south suburbs to conserve electricity until evening

In the second day of a brutal heat wave, ComEd is asking some south suburbs to conserve electricity while they make repairs.

ComEd is asking residents of Tinley Park and Orland Park to conserve electricity after taking a piece of equipment out of service in order to address an emergency situation.

The utility is asking residents to curb their electricity usage until 7:30 p.m. to reduce the risk of outages in these areas. Only Tinley Park and Orland Park are affected by the needed repairs.

In order to reduce electricity consumption, ComEd recommends:

  • Turning off or unplugging unnecessary lighting and devices, like chargers, printers and small appliances that are not in use
  • Raising your thermostat two to three degrees, to maintain a consistent but comfortable cooling level
  • Hold off on using appliances like dishwashers, washing machines and dryers
  • Keep your shade, blinds and curtains closed to add insulation and reduce heat in your home, requiring less electric cooling
  • How to maintain your air conditioning during a heat wave

    Taking care of you air conditioning unit and using it properly during a heat wave could be the different between staying cool and not.

    The heat wave forced a few power outages in the city, but overall ComEd said its crews have been able to manage things and prevent any major power outages.

    HVAC companies were busy fixing air conditioning units struggling in the heat.

    Executives at Four Seasons Heating, Cooling, Plumbing and Electric said they've had easily four times their normal call volume during this heat wave. They have more than 100 people taking calls to keep up with demand, and nearly 250 technicians on the road.

    "We're getting a lot of breakdowns," said executive director Jeff Vida. "We took calls the last two nights 24 hours overnight."

    "Keep it anywhere from 70, no more than 71 degrees, a nice cooling and then when you get home you can ramp it up a little more to whatever the liking is," advised Nichole Owens, VP of electric distribution operations at ComEd. "But don't turn everything off and then come home and try to turn everything on at the same time."

    Four Seasons Heating and Cooling said roughly 80% of people with broken AC units had zero preventative maintenance or annual service. It costs about $100 for a once-a-year tune up, but it could be the difference between hundreds if not thousands of dollars in repairs.

    Students stay cool inside schools

    Chicago Public School students stayed cool inside on Thursday, but that doesn't mean they didn't find ways to have fun.

    Buffalo Grove High School was closed Thursday because of problems with the HVAC system.

    Meanwhile, Chicago Public Schools undertook a large-scale water distribution effort Thursday morning, using a location in the Pilsen neighborhood to load up and transport all of it to schools across the city.

    "We started yesterday and we are wrapping up today and in a couple of hours we will have distributed well over 400,000 bottles to all or our schools." Jason Mojica, CPS executive director of nutrition and support services, said.

    For the second day in a row there was no outdoor recess for CPS students, but there were plenty of indoor options to have fun.

    Kindergarteners at Powell Academy made the most of red light, green light in the gym. They seemed to understand the situation.

    "Your head will get hot if you stay outside," said Serenity Adams.

    "You need to stay indoors and eat some popsicles so you can freeze up," said Riley Cage.

    "Even though they're not able to go outside in this heat, we do some brain breaks and some exercises for them to be able to move around while we are in the classroom," said teacher LaTanya Jackson.

    The eighth grade student council also gave suggestions for activities in the hallways, like jumping rope. There were also other games available like Connect Four, Uno and Jenga.

    "That's the best solution and that's an opportunity for leadership they have, to be part of the solution," said Principal Sheila Barlow.