Dangerous heat wave hits Chicago area

CHICAGO -- The National Weather Service has upgraded the Chicago area Excessive Heat Watch to an Excessive Heat Warning (pink-shaded area on the highlighted map below depicting forecast peak daytime heat indexes 105 to 115-degrees) Thursday and Friday across the Illinois portion of the Chicago area.

excessiveheatwarning2-7-21

The northwest Indiana portion of the Chicago area Is under an Excessive heat Advisory (orange-shaded area on the highlighted map above depicting daytime peak heat indexes 103-108-degrees) Thursday and Friday.

Warnings and Advisories could be extended into Saturday, especially in Chicago-area counties well south of Interstate-80 and those in Indiana.

Between now and the end of the weekend, the heat index is expected to climb as high as 115 degrees, with temperatures well into the 90's -- at least.

People are being urged to check frequently on elderly neighbors.

Chicago firefighters are tagging in and out frequently, to keep them fresh and safe. Pet owners are also being urged to take special care to hydrate their animals, and not exercise them too hard.

The American Red Cross on Wednesday released its list of "Extreme Safety Tips":

  • Never leave children or pets in a vehicle – even for a few minutes. The inside temperature of a car can quickly reach 120 degrees.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids throughout the day. Avoid drinks with alcohol or caffeine.
  • Slow down, stay indoors and avoid strenuous exercise during the hottest part of the day.
  • Wear loose-fitting, lightweight, light-colored clothing. Avoid dark colors because they absorb the sun’s rays.
  • Use a buddy system if required to work outdoors and take frequent breaks.
  • Check on animals frequently to ensure that they are not suffering from the heat. Make sure they have plenty of cool water and shade.

The Red Cross also says people without air conditioning should seek relief at public places such as libraries, shopping malls and movie theaters.

The Illinois Department of Public Health also urges residents to shower or bathe in cool water to lower body temperature, and check in on high-risk family members,  friends and neighbors. These could include seniors and people with chronic health conditions.

Cook County has set up cooling centers for residents in surrounding small towns. Click here for the full list.

The city of Chicago will also have cooling centers available in a handful of neighborhoods. See the list here.

Long exposure to heat will increase your risk of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, here's how you can recognize symptoms of both -- and how to treat them:

Heat Exhaustion

Symptoms:

  • Heavy sweating
  • Weakness
  • Skin cold, pale, and clammy
  • Weak pulse
  • Fainting and vomiting

What to do: 

  • Move to a cooler location
  • Lie down and loosen your clothing
  • Apply cool, wet cloths to as much of your body as possible
  • Sip water
  • If you have vomited and it continues, seek medical attention immediately

Heat stroke

Symptoms:

  • High body temperature (above 103°F)
  • Hot, red, dry or moist skin
  • Rapid and strong pulse
  • Possible unconsciousness

What to do:

  • Call 911 immediately – this is a medical emergency
  • Move the person to a cooler location
  • Reduce the person’s body temperature with cool cloths or a bath
  • Do NOT give fluids

There are also apps you may download for help and extreme heat safety tips:

The Excessive Heat Watch beginning Thursday is in place for the following Chicago-area counties:

Boone; Cook; De Kalb; DuPage; Ford; Grundy; Iroquois; Kane; Kankakee; Kendall; La Salle; Lake; Lee; Livingston; McHenry; Ogle; Will; Winnebago.

For the latest weather updates, go to ChicagoWeatherCenter.com.

For more information, go here:

http://www.fema.gov/

redcross.org/il/chicago

www.dph.illinois.gov