Excessive heat warning extended to 7 p.m. Sunday

The National Weather Service has extended its excessive heat warning for the Chicago area to 7 p.m. Sunday.

An excessive heat warning indicates a prolonged period of dangerously high temperatures, and the combination of heat and high humidity will combine to create a dangerous situation in which heat illnesses are likely. The weather service advises drinking plenty of fluids, staying in air conditioning, staying out of the sun and checking up on relatives and neighbors. And young children and pets should never be left unattended in vehicles under any circumstances.

The warning applies to all the suburban counties as well as Chicago.

Saturday's high temperature was 94 degrees, short of the record of 99, and peak heat index readings reached about 105 degrees. On Friday, the high was 96 degrees, 1 degree short of the record of 97 degrees.

Saturday marked the eighth day above 90 degrees this year.

AccuWeather is forecasting a high of 93 on Sunday with a RealFeel of 100, and a severe thunderstorm expected in the later afternoon.

The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project held a water safety demonstration Saturday in North suburban Winthrop Harbor, ABC 7 Chicago reported.

"We call this a lake, but it's really like an inland sea. But when you come and use the lakes, you need to remember it's not like a backyard pool," said Bob Pratt, of The Great Lakes Surf Rescue Project.

Animals at the Brookfield Zoo were given ice blocks filled with frozen fruit to help them cope with the soaring temperatures, ABC 7 reported. The animals were also given access to their behind-the-scenes areas, which are equipped with shade and misting fans.

The Illinois Tollway began round-the-clock hot weather patrols Friday in order to locate and assist stranded drivers in the dangerously high temperatures. If you need assistance, call *999 from a cellphone and note the roadway and direction of travel, as well as the nearest milepost or crossroad. Stranded motorists should turn on emergency lights and remain in their vehicle until help arrives.

Oases along the tollway serve as cooling centers for motorists, ABC 7 reports.

The Chicago Veterinary Medical Association has issued several tips for dogs and cats in hot weather.

First and foremost, it says, never leave a pet inside a vehicle, even in the shade with the windows open. Dogs and cats don't sweat, they pant. The association says that sometimes they are unable to pant fast enough to cool down.

Always provide cold water and a portable bowl when you're out with your pet, the association advises. And while exercise and walks are great for dogs, don't force them to run around after a meal in hot, humid weather. Also, try to exercise and walk pets early in the morning or later in the day when it's not as hot.

Dogs' paw pads are sensitive to heat and can burn, so dogs shouldn't stand on hot asphalt for long periods of time. Watch for signs of discomfort.

The association recommends keeping cats indoors during extreme heat and providing lots of shade for pets that spend time outside. Older and overweight animals should be kept indoors in a cool, ideally air-conditioned, room.

Dogs with long, heavy coats should be trimmed to approximately one inch, according to the association. However, the association also cautions against shaving fur all the way down to the skin and exposing pets to possible sunburn. Pets are not immune from skin cancer, so keep an eye out for any changes in skin color, too.

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