Accuweather Alert Day: Heat index expected to reach 105 degrees, according to OEMC
CHICAGO (WLS) -- Temperatures are expected to reach dangerous levels in the Midwest this weekend, with a heat index sitting above 100 degrees in the Chicago area Saturday.
The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications is advising that temperatures over the next few days and throughout the weekend are expected to warm into the mid-90s with a potential peak heat index of 105 degrees or above.
ABC7 Meteorologist Phil Schwarz said Saturday is an example of the effects of humidity.
While temperatures reached the low 90s, dew points climbed into the low-to-mid 70s. The combination produced heat indices around 100, Schwarz said.
The heat index could even top 110 degrees in some spots, according to ABC 7 Chicago Meteorologist Greg Dutra.
Many Chicagoans were looking to beat the heat Saturday.
"The beaches are closed, but still nice to be able to have the water," said Maddie Malek.
The dangerously high temperatures come as Chicago-area beaches and many pools remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"Just trying to enjoy our Saturday and hang out with friends, but socially distance," Malek said.
OEMC and Cook County are opening cooling centers for residents who need relief from the extreme heat and humidity that can pose a health and safety threat.
"Heat can be very dangerous, as we all know, and we are reminding everyone to stay hydrated and to stay in the shade," said Rich Guidice, of OEMC.
Residents will have access to cooling centers, libraries, Chicago Park District splash pads and other options as needed from July 16 through July 19.
OEMC Cooling Center Locations:
Cooling areas hours are, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the following locations.
Cooling areas for seniors are open 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the following locations.
Cook County Cooling Center Locations:
The centers will be open from 8 a.m. Saturday to 10 p.m. Sunday, but will close for the overnight hours if temperatures fall below 80 degrees.
The center's operations could be extended into next week if the current weather pattern persists, according to a Cook County press release.
The county's plans ensure social distancing can be maintained, and all residents who seek shelter in the facilities will be subject to a wellness evaluation based on COVID-19 protocols. Surgical masks and gloves will also be provided at the cooling centers.
An alternative housing plan is also in place for any resident that is suspected of having the coronavirus and requires shelter from the heat, the release added.
To stay safe, officials recommend:
In addition to the Cook County cooling centers, some municipalities have also opened up cooling centers to residents.
Officials remind residents that Chicago beaches are still closed.
The OEMC Operations Center will monitor the weather appropriately and remain in constant contact with the National Weather Service.
For more information on where you can find relief from the heat, call 311 or visit 311.chicago.gov. You can also get timly updates and other information by signing up for free emergency alerts at NotifyChicago.org.