Suburbs sweat through September heat
As the temperature rose to match record levels Tuesday, people around the suburbs tried to stay cool while still enjoying what officials predicted could be one of the last hot days of the year.
The high temperature at O'Hare International Airport reached 95 degrees at 4 p.m., matching the record set on Sept. 10, 1983, said Ben Deubelbeiss, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago.
"Anytime you get record temperatures, it's unusual," he said.
At Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, which is hosting the BMW Championship golf tournament this week, the staff in the medical trailer was busy with about 20 spectators stopping in for treatment for various ailments.
"Lightheadedness, nausea, dizziness, absence of sweat," said Dr. Aaron Epstein, an emergency physician at nearby Northwestern Lake Forest Hospital who is assisting during the tournament. "The higher the heat and the humidity, the more dangerous it is."
There were no reports of anyone having to go to the hospital Tuesday, unlike during Monday's pro-am when one of the caddies had to be transported for treatment.
When the power suddenly went out at the McDonald's on Golf Road in Arlington Heights at 1:30 p.m., managers offered free drinks to customers already standing in line. Nearby traffic signals, including at the intersection of Arlington Heights and Golf roads, were also affected by the outage.
At Lincolnshire's Stevenson High School, a powerful central cooling system kept students and staffers comfortable. That's quite a feat for a building that's one of the suburbs' largest at roughly 1 million square feet.
"Pretty big bills here," school spokesman Jim Conrey joked.
Some physical education classes moved inside as the mercury rose, Conrey said. For after-school athletic events, tents were set up to provide shade for students who needed breaks from the sun. Trainers and coaches made sure athletes remained hydrated.
While some schools made changes to keep students cool, others without air conditioning had to close due to the heat.
A "Youth Super Fun Day" at the Y Sports Complex in south Naperville kept about 60 elementary-age kids safe and entertained while school was canceled at 20 Indian Prairie Unit District 204 buildings without air conditioning.
Inside the air-conditioned sports complex at 31W290 Shoger Road, kids played large and small group games and sports, made crafts and sang songs, said Erica Wood, executive director of the Y's Safe n' Sound program.
School in District 204 buildings without air conditioning also is canceled Wednesday.
West Aurora School District 129 schools will be on early dismissal again Wednesday because of the heat. In St. Charles District 303, Wild Rose, Corron and Norton Creek Elementary will be closed on Wednesday, while Haines and Thompson middle schools will be on early dismissal.
With both public outdoor pools in Elgin already closed for the season, the indoor water park at The Centre of Elgin was more crowded than usual Tuesday, aquatics supervisor Greg Bruggeman said.
Public employees who normally work outside also tried to keep cool.
Some Elgin public works employees who were scheduled to do hot asphalt patching worked an earlier shift from 6 a.m. to 2 p.m., said Public Works Director Kyla Jacobsen.
"We're leaving it up to the individual work groups," she said. "A couple crews didn't want to do that. They're just drinking a lot more water."
One officer on the East Dundee police force requested to wear shorts instead of pants as part of his uniform due to the heat, said Police Chief Terry Mee.
"This is not unusual for us, we work outside," Mee said. "Most of the time, they're in the cars and the cars are air-conditioned, and we've not had any incidents that have had them be outside for a long period of time."
Forecasters say the warm weather won't stick around for long. A cold front is expected to move in with highs falling in the below normal range at only around 70 degrees on Friday, Deubelbeiss said.
Tuesday and Wednesday could be the last days of the year to hit 90 degrees as the Chicago area starts transitioning into fall.
"There's nothing else on our radar as far as another big warm-up," Deubelbeiss said. "As we get later into the season it will become less likely because we'll start seeing more cold air outbreaks instead."
• Daily Herald staff writers Lenore Adkins, Eric Peterson, Marie Wilson, Elena Ferrarin, Russell Lissau, Susan Sarkauskas and Mike Spellman contributed to this report.
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