Chicago Weather: Excessive Heat Warning continues for area, storms moving in

CHICAGO (WLS) -- The Chicago area continued to experience dangerous heat levels Saturday, though temperatures took a tumble as severe storms rolled through the area as well.
An Excessive Heat Warning is in effect for Cook, DeKalb, DuPage Grundy, Kankakee, Kendall, Lake, LaSalle, Livingston, McHenry and Will counties in Illinois and Jasper, Lake, Newton and Porter counties in Indiana until 7 p.m. Saturday. The high temperature forecast for Saturday was 92 degrees at the lake and 96 degrees inland, with heat indices from 100 to 114 degrees.

Additionally, the National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Watch for Boone, Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Lee and McHenry counties in Illinois and Kenosha, Racine and Walworth counties in Wisconsin until 9 p.m. The watch was upgraded to a warning for some areas until 5:15 p.m.

The hot weather turned dangerous for some residents of a building in the 1200 block of North Clybourn Avenue on the Near North Side after their air conditioning went out.

"Oh, it's hot. It's hotter inside than it is out here. Completely hot. Baking," said Curtis Person, who lives in the building.

Some of the 92 residents said temperatures inside the building felt close to 100 degrees.

"Cause the building is iron and steel, it's holding heat. You can't breathe in there," said Levell Bonnett, a friend of a resident.

Fire officials did a full sweep of the single room occupancy building and found some residents in distress. They were escorted to two CTA cooling buses parked outside the building.

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CFD deputy district chief Jeffrey Mayer said the building's electricity and elevators were working, but the air conditioning unit went down. Some residents said the building has had problems with the A/C for the past two weeks.

Building management could not be reached to confirm that as they offered other living arrangements to residents until the unit could be fixed.

"I'm ok physically because I'm here but emotionally I'm a wreck," another resident said.

Many outdoor events were planned for this weekend. Organizers were taking extra precautions to keep participants safe in the extreme temperatures.

The 45th annual 8K Walk, Jog and Bike-a-thon for sickle cell disease awareness at 39th and Lake Shore Drive happened Saturday morning. Though there was a morning breeze on the lakefront, event organizers for the charity run were prepared for the hot weather with cases of water and first aid. They're also hoped to get the event wrapped up by 10:30 a.m., before it got too hot.

There were also plenty of people running along the lakefront paths Saturday morning trying to beat the heat. Some people told ABC 7 that they got out and about earlier than usual, knowing that dangerous heat was in the forecast Saturday afternoon. Runners along the lakefront path say the key is to hydrate before, during and after their run, keeping in mind where the water fountains are along the path.

For those looking to engage in healthy competition, there is a 5K timed run, where racers will compete for the best time. The event organizers have a fundraising goal of $100,000.

Pitchfork Music Festival was briefly evacuated at about 5 p.m. due to the severe storms rolling through the area, but the festivities were back on by 6:30 p.m.

The city previously detailed efforts to make sure the most vulnerable residents are safe. The Department of Family and Support Services will perform a series of wellness checks and outreach to let people know about the resources available, including city-operated facilities like pools, senior and cooling centers.

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"The City of Chicago is coordinating its resources and services to help keep Chicagoans safe from the dangerous heat conditions over the next several days," said OEMC Executive Director Rich Guidice. "As always, OEMC will continue to monitor weather conditions, large-scale events and is prepared to activate plans and alert the public should a situation warrant."

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DFSS says it plans to extend its hours at the city's six cooling centers from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday. To locate a cooling center, residents can call 311. The Garfield Center at 10 S. Kedzie will be open 24 hours. Other city facilities including Chicago Public Library locations, Chicago Police Department stations, Chicago Park District field houses, DFSS Community Service Centers and DFSS Senior Centers are serving as cooling centers.

Residents are also asked to check on relatives, neighbors and friends. Requests for well-being checks can be made by downloading the CH311 app, at or by calling 311.

"I have some elderly parents and am trying to warn them to stay cool and hopefully the AC kicks in," said Joe Visaya. "I also have a dog, so they have to be careful as well."

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At Brookfield Zoo, animals beat the heat with icy treats and water misters.

At the Brookfield Zoo, animals were given ice treats and blocks of ice to keep them cool. Animals including polar bears, grizzly bears, sloth bears, Amur bears and even the rhino got icy treats filled with either fruits and veggies or meat and bones depending on their diets. Some of the outdoor habitats, like the habitat for the reindeers, had their water misters turned on so the animals can cool off, the zoo said.

Animals including the bears and big cats are also given access to their indoor quarters so they can cool down inside if they choose, the zoo said.

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For those without air conditioning, Cook County is keeping courthouses in Skokie, Rolling Meadows, and Bridgeview open through Saturday night.

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 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.


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