Excessive heat continues, cooling centers remain open
Updated: July 20, 2012 11:42AM
An excessive heat warning in effect until 10 p.m. for all Chicago-area counties has been issued by the National Weather Service. The warning means forecasters expect heat index values of 105 degrees for at least three hours on two consecutive days, or any heat index reading of more than 115 degrees.
The temperature hit 102 degrees at O’Hare for a brief moment Wednesday afternoon, tying for the hottest Independence Day on record.
Thursday could also be a record-tying, or even record-breaking day temperature-wise, according to the weather service.
The weather service says we very well may break that today. Thursday is expected to be intensely hot and humid, with highs between 101 and 105 degrees. Peak afternoon heat index readings could reach 108 to 113, the weather service said.
Should the mercury rise to 105, it would also tie the hottest temperature ever recorded in Chicago, a 105 reading on July 24, 1934, according to the weather service.
Adventist La Grange Memorial Hospital, 5101 S. Willow Springs Road, La Grange, open 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. Enter through emergency room entrance and report to security for directions to one of the cooling center rooms. Center will remain open as long as weather is in the upper 90s.
Burr Ridge Village Hall, 7660 County Line Road, open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (630) 323-4733.
In Hinsdale the following centers will remain open around the clock until the heat breaks.
Hinsdale Memorial Hall, 19 E. Chicago Ave. (630) 789-7000.
Hinsdale Police and Fire departments, 121 Symonds Drive. (630) 789-7070.
Hinsdale Public Library, 20 E. Maple St. (630) 986-1976.
The Clarendon Hills Police Station lobby, 448 Park Ave., will be open until 4 p.m. The fire station, 316 Park Ave., is staffed around the clock and residents in need may also go there.. (630) 286-5460
The Butler Government Center, 1200 Oak Brook Road, Oak Brook, is open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily.
The Oak Brook Public Library, 600 Oak Brook Road, is open 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Thursday and 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday. (630) 368-7700
Oak Brook Park District Family Recreation Center, 1450 Forest Gate Road, is open 5:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday to Thursday. Closing time is 8:30 p.m. Friday. Weekend hours are 7 am. to 4 p.m. (630) 990-4233.
In Westchester, the village Cooling Center is located in the Community Room of Village Hall, 10300 W. Roosevelt Road. Residents are required to check in at the Police Department before entering the Cooling Center. Water and cots will be provided. (708) 345-0020.
For those without power or just facing the extreme heat, the Health Department warns to be aware of yours and others’ risk for heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat cramps and fainting. To avoid heat stress, you should:
Drink a glass of fluid every 15 to 20 minutes and at least one gallon each day.
Avoid alcohol and caffeine. They both dehydrate the body.
Wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing.
Take frequent cool showers or baths.
If you feel dizzy, weak, or overheated, go to a cool place. Sit or lie down, drink water, and wash your face with cool water. If you don’t feel better soon, get medical help quickly.
Work during cooler hours of the day when possible, or distribute the workload evenly throughout the day.
If the power is out for less than 2 hours, then the food in your refrigerator and freezer will be safe to consume. While the power is out, keep the refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to keep food cold for longer.
If the power is out for longer than 2 hours, follow the guidelines below:
For the freezer section: A freezer that is half full will hold food safely for up to 24 hours. A full freezer will hold food safely for 48 hours. Do not open the freezer door if you can avoid it.
For the refrigerated section: Pack milk, other dairy products, meat, fish, eggs, gravy, and spoilable leftovers into a cooler surrounded by ice. Inexpensive Styrofoam coolers are fine for this purpose.
There are special tips for those with pets.
It only takes a few minutes for the temperature in a car to soar up to 120 degrees. If travelling with your pets make sure that they are safe and cool and do NOT leave them in a parked car. Pets can quickly suffer brain damage or die from heatstroke or suffocation when trapped in high temperatures. Dogs and cats cannot sweat; they rely on panting to cool themselves off through their lungs. If the temperature rises well above a dog’s body temperature it obviously has no means to cool itself off.
Pets left outside in the yard must have access to fresh water and shade at all times. It is best if pets remain inside during hot days. They will be safer and more comfortable in the air conditioning.
Be alert to the signs of heat stress — heavy panting, glazed eyes, a rapid pulse, unsteadiness, a staggering gait, vomiting or a deep red or purple tongue.
If your pet has become overheated, you must lower his or her body temperature immediately. Move your pet into the shade and apply cool (not cold) water all over their body to gradually lower their body temperature.
Apply ice packs or cold towels to your pet’s head, neck and under leg creases.