Temps to cool down after falling just short of 100 Tuesday
At Mario's Italian Lemonade, Russell Denton and Phillip Garreau of Chicago try to cool off with some Italian Lemonade. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times photo by Al Podgorski
Updated: August 19, 2012 6:24AM
The final day of a three-day heat wave that scorched the area fell one degree short of breaking the record high temperature for the day.
The mercury climbed to 99 degrees at O’Hare International Airport on Tuesday afternoon — just shy of the all-time record of 100 degrees set in 1942 and 1887, according to the National Weather Service. The heat index at O’Hare hit 106 just before 3 p.m.
Temps hit 96 at Midway, 97 in West Chicago, 98 in Wheeling, and 99 in Waukegan and Gary, Ind.
O’Hare, Chicago’s official recording station, has recorded temperatures of 100 degrees or higher four times this year.
The temperature is expected to fall to 74 degrees early Wednesday, when the wind will shift from west to northeast, blowing at 5 to 10 mph, the weather service said.
The high temperatures are expected to range between 86 and 90 degrees the rest of the week with a chance of thunderstorms Wednesday and Thursday, according to the weather service.
Temperatures had been 10 to 15 degrees above normal from the Midwest to the Mid-Atlantic during the heat wave, the weather service said.
At a news conference Wednesday afternoon, officials again urged residents to stay out of the heat and check on their elderly or otherwise vulnerable relatives. Despite the record heat this year, officials said they have received fewer calls for assistance compared with last year at this time.
The numbers so far are less than half the calls since last year, said Gary Schenkel, executive director of the Office of Emergency Management and Communications. He said that more widespread air conditioning and more precautions taken by the city have likely contributed to the drop in calls for help.
“The number of problems has been very low,” he said.
Contributing: Josh McGhee