The National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning which is in effect for Cook County until 7 p.m. Sunday and until 10 p.m. Saturday for surrounding counties.
Saturday's high is forecast to be 98, one degree short of the record of 99, and peak heat index readings are expected to top 105 degrees. On Friday, the high was 96 degrees, one degree short of the record of 97 degrees.
There are more than 80 events in the Chicago area this weekend, and the message from city officials is to be careful. A lot of people are heeding that warning.
At Chicago SummerDance Saturday evening, dancers had to watch more than their steps as the temperature hovered in the 90s.
"Don't over exert yourself, take your time on the dance floor," said salsa instructor Miguel Mendez. "No reason to be pounding the floor. Let your body glide. Cool off and drink water."
Some people are using the chilly lake to cool off and enjoy the outdoors.
"It's very, very cold, but I like that. It woke me up because we haven't been asleep all night. We came straight from a show, grabbed some clothes and came out here," Meghan Powers said.
The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project held a water safety demonstration in north suburban Winthrop Harbor Saturday.
"We call this a lake, but it's really like an inland sea. But when you come and use the lakes, you need to remember it's not like a backyard pool," said Bob Pratt of The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.
In the city, kids found relief at Crown Fountain in Millennium Park.
Chicago's Office of Emergency Management reminds you to stay hydrated, wear light-colored clothing, and don't spend too much time in the sun.
The people in Chicago weren't the only ones trying to beat the heat. Animals at the Brookfield zoo were given ice blocks filled with frozen fruit to help them cope with the soaring temperatures.
The animals were also given access to their behind-the-scenes areas, which are equipped with shade and misting fans.
COOLING CENTERS AND HOT WEATHER RESOURCES
CLICK HERE for an interactive map to find a Cooling Center near you in Illinois.
CLICK HERE to see the cooling centers for Gary, Indiana
You can also call 311 to locate a nearby cooling center.
The Illinois Tollway began round-the-clock hot weather patrols Friday in order to locate and assist stranded drivers in the dangerously high temperatures. If you need motorist assistance, call *999 from a cell phone and note the roadway and direction of travel, as well as the nearest milepost or crossroad. Stranded motorists should turn on emergency lights and remain in their vehicle until help arrives.
Oases along the tollway serve as cooling centers for motorists. Click here for a list of oases on Illinois Tollways.
PROTECTING PETS FROM EXCESSIVE HEAT
The excessive heat isn't just challenging for people, pets are also affected.
The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA) has issued several tips for dogs and cats in hot weather.
First and foremost, never leave a pet inside a vehicle-even in the shade with the windows open. Dogs and cats don't sweat, they pant. The CVMA says that sometimes they are unable to pant fast enough to cool down.
Always provide cold water and a portable bowl when you're out with your pet.
While exercise and walks are great for dogs, don't force them to run around after a meal in hot, humid weather. Also, try to exercise and walk pets early in the morning or later in the day when it's not as hot.
Dogs' paw pads are sensitive to heat and can burn. Don't make your pooch stand on hot asphalt for long periods of time and watch for signs of discomfort.
The CVMA recommends keeping cats indoors during extreme heat and providing lots of shade for pets that spend time outside. Older and overweight animals should be kept indoors in a cool, ideally air-conditioned, room.
Dogs with long, heavy coats should be trimmed to approximately one-inch according to the CVMA. However, the association also cautions against shaving fur all the way down to the skin and exposing pets to possible sunburn. Pets are not immune from skin cancer, so keep an eye out for any changes in skin color, too.
An Excessive Heat Watch means that a prolonged period of high temperatures is expected. The combination of high temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are possible. Drink plenty of fluids...stay in an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun...and check up on relatives and neighbors. Take extra precautions...if you work or spend time outside. When possible...reschedule strenuous activities to early morning or evening. Know the signs and symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Wear light weight and loose fitting clothing when possible and drink plenty of water. To reduce risk during outdoor work...the occupational safety and health administration recommends scheduling frequent rest breaks in shaded or air conditioned environments. Anyone overcome by heat should be moved to a cool and shaded location. Heat stroke is an emergency...call 9 1 1.
An Excessive Heat Warning means that a prolonged period of dangerously hot temperatures will occur. The combination of hot temperatures and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely. Drink plenty of fluids...stay in an air-conditioned room...stay out of the sun... and check up on relatives and neighbors. Young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances. This is especially true during warm or hot weather when car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes.