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Tuesday, July 9, 2024 | Back issues
Courthouse News Service Courthouse News Service

Illinois likely to face extreme heat next week

The first major heat wave of the summer will likely affect much of the U.S. Midwest and Northeast.

(CN) — The Illinois State Climatologist's Office on Friday predicted an extreme heat risk for the Prairie State starting early next week.

The prediction was corroborated by meteorologists from the National Weather Service near Chicago. It's this summer's first major heat wave, with one NWS scientist warning that from Sunday through Thursday, locals could see temperatures in the 90s with little respite.

"Our current forecast for next week starts on Sunday in the low 90s," NWS meteorologist Zachary Yack told Courthouse News. "We may get some storms that bring some local relief, but right now our confidence to see those storms is low."

The high temperatures facing Illinois are part of a larger heatwave — one the National Weather Service said is likely to affect most of the Midwest and Northeast.

The weather agency expects temperatures to peak at or above 100 degrees Fahrenheit, with a moderate chance that the heat could extend through June 24. The conditions will also increase drought risk for the eastern U.S., particularly in much of Indiana, Ohio and the areas surrounding Chesapeake Bay.

"Antecedent dryness combined with hot temperatures increase the risk of Rapid Onset Drought across portions of the eastern Corn Belt and Mid-Atlantic," the National Weather Service said in a statement.

Local health systems, industries and power infrastructure will likely see adverse effects from the heat, the Illinois State Climatologist's Office said. The office has urged state residents to prepare, particularly in the densely-populated Chicago area.

Yack reiterating the warning, urging people to stay inside and out of the heat however they could.

"Even if you don't have air conditioning, if you can go by a friend who does" then you should, Yack said. "Anything you can do to get out of the heat is recommended."

Chicago plans to operate six dedicated cooling centers across the city to address the heat, along with six other facilities prioritizing elderly residents.

Chicago public libraries and some park buildings will also serve as cooling centers during working hours. To minimize strain on the power grid, the city is also urging people to keep their lights off as much as possible and to use ovens and stoves as little as possible.

Despite the drought risks and threats to health, Yack said heat waves like the one expected next week have become fairly typical for early summer in the upper Midwest.

"The first 90 degree days we usually see are during early June," Yack said. On the other hand, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has warned that next week's heat wave could bring temperatures "near daily record values."

Earlier this week, the Illinois State Climatologist's Office also reported that this May was the 11th warmest May the state has seen since 1895.

Globally, May 2024 was the hottest May on record, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It marks a full year where each consecutive month was the world's hottest ever recorded.

"The average global May temperature was 2.12 degrees Fahrenheit (1.18 degrees Celsius) above the 20th-century average of 58.6 degrees Fahrenheit (14.8 degrees Celsius), ranking as the warmest May in NOAA’s 175-year global record," the administration reported Thursday.

Besides heat, climate change has brought other adverse effects to Illinois.

These include increased precipitation and bad air-quality days caused by smoke from wildfires like those in Canada and the Pacific Northwest. Last June, the World Air Quality Index reported that wildfire smoke contributed to Chicago briefly having some of the worst outdoor air quality on the planet.

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Categories / Health, Regional, Science, Weather

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