Getting tired of 100-degree temperatures?
Thus far, Chicago and the suburban area has seen four 100-degree days this summer, just three shy of breaking a record set in 1988, said Matt Friedlein, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.
Plant care during droughtDepending on air temperatures, trees and shrubs need at least 1 inch of water applied every week to 10 days to cope with lack of rain. Larger, established trees have a wide-spreading root system and need not be watered as frequently, perhaps every 2 to 3 weeks. Let the top few inches of soil dry out between watering to avoid saturation and to allow roots and soil organisms to breathe.
ŸWater slowly and deeply so water percolates down into the soil
ŸUse soaker hoses and drip irrigation to discharge even streams of slow, trickling water directly to the roots beneath trees and shrubs.
ŸWater small trees by letting a hose run slowly at its base until the ground is moist. For large trees, let the hose run at various points around the tree's drip line.
ŸWater shrubs at the plant base and under the spread of branches until soil is moistened to a depth of 6 to 8 inches.
ŸWhen using a sprinkler system, place a container nearby to measure when you have distributed 1 inch of water to the soil.
ŸPrioritize watering, caring for newly-transplanted trees and shrubs first, then those that have been in the ground from 2 to 5 years. Next, water "specimen" trees or important trees, then all other plants.
ŸPlants absorb more water in the early morning, before the warming sun causes evaporation.
ŸAvoid using fertilizer during drought conditions. Fertilizer salts can cause root injury when soil moisture is limited.
The high for today was 99 degrees at about 3:15 p.m. at O'Hare International Airport.
"We are forecast to hit 100 degrees today," Friedlein said.
It's likely the 1988 record will be broken this summer, though perhaps not immediately. Some respite from the heat is expected starting Wednesday with cooler weather sweeping through from the north. However, temperatures will be back in the upper 90s next week, according to the National Weather Service.
The Chicago area gets 100-degree temperatures once every other year on average. Before this year, the last time Chicago hit 100 was on July 24, 2005, Friedlein said.
"In the 140 years of Chicago records, there's been 100-degree temperatures on 65 of those days," he said. "This is a higher end summer. It's very rare to have the heat that we are (experiencing)."
There's also been a prolonged dryness with moderate to severe drought conditions across northern Illinois and northern Indiana.
"The dryness does not look to be breaking anytime in the next week," Friedlein said. "There is a chance for storms tonight and tomorrow night across Chicago. It is not going to be widespread and not enough to put any kind of a dent in the drought."