CHICAGO — While Chicago fell just short of breaking the record-high temperature Wednesday, the city has still logged 29 days of 90 degrees or hotter.
What’s more, WGN meteorologist Mark Carroll said the average temperature since climatological summer began on June 1 has been 76.5 degrees, making this the hottest summer on the books so far. The previous record through today’s date was set in 1955, with an average of 76.3 degrees.
Humidity has stayed relatively low so far this week, preventing the heat index from climbing above 100 degrees and keeping the National Weather Service from having to issue a heat advisory or warning.
The region actually logged the driest July 1-August 25 period on the books since 1944. Only 3.55” has fallen so far this summer, compared to the 2.77” in 1944.
Doctors say in this heat it’s important to drink six to eight ounces of water for every 20 minutes spent outside; wear light, loose-fitting clothing and sunscreen; avoid soda and alcohol; and watch out for symptoms of heat exhaustion.
However, doctors report they haven’t seen a huge uptick in heat-related illness in emergency rooms, likely due to many people staying home during the coronavirus pandemic.
While it can be uncomfortable wearing a mask outdoors in the heat, they say it’s still important to do so. Dr. Trevor Lewis of the Cook County Health Department said cloth masks work better in this weather.
“They’re a little more breathable, light in color that will reflect the heat as opposed to absorb the heat,” Lewis said. “When you’re wearing the mask, if you’re out for a period of time find an area you can safely social distance and take the mask off for a little bit.”
The City has opened six cooling centers from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesday through Friday: Englewood, Garfield, King, North Area, South Chicago and Trina Davila centers.
They have all been deep cleaned, disinfected and reconfigured to keep visitors six feet apart, and anyone there must wear a face mask. Chicago Park District splash pads and libraries are also options to cool off.
Whatever it takes, it’s important to stay cool as temperatures in Chicago trend towards more record-breaking levels. The number of days with a temperature of 88 degrees or higher so far this season totals 43, ranking the sixth highest for this period since 1944.
Even the nights have been hot. We’ve had 33 nights with low temperatures of 70 degrees or higher, the fourth highest count on record since 1942.