Weekend events continue despite heat, threat of storms

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Staying cool is the name of the game again Sunday.

Severe thunderstorm watches and excessive heat warnings were in effect for many counties in northeastern Illinois and northwest Indiana Sunday, but have since been canceled.

In Wisconsin, the National Weather Service issued a tornado watch, which has also been canceled.

Despite the heat this weekend many people took advantage of events happening across the Chicago area and took advantage of some cooler spots.

"Very hot and humid and I feel like I'm melting," said Emmi Buikema, who was trying to keep cool in the Millennium Park fountains.

Others came out early Sunday to enjoy the cooler weather.

"It's hot. It's very hot, but right now, it's bearable," said Michael Hicks at 31st Street Beach.


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.

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.
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