Heat wave continues, but cooldown coming tonight

June 8, 2011

By Alex Keefe and The Associated Press

(File/Getty/Tim Boyle)

Chicagoans can expect another scorcher, though a front is expected to bring cooler temperatures and thunderstorms to the region Wednesday evening.

Rose Sengenberger, with the National Weather Service in Romeoville, said temperatures on Wednesday will climb into the mid-90s, with heat index readings above 100 degrees.

"We still have the same airmass in place that we had [Tuesday] that was causing such high temperatures," Sengenberger said. "That's why it's so hot and so humid, [because] we have the heat from down south and also the moisture from the Gulf of Mexico."

The Weather Service reports that Kankakee and Peotone saw 99-degree highs on Tuesday, while the mercury topped out at 97 on Chicago's lakefront.

A cold front is forecast to move into the region Wednesday night, bringing thunderstorms and temperatures in the 60s. More seasonal highs in the 60s and 70s are forecast to return starting Thursday.

The City of Chicago has opened six cooling centers. The city says residents can call 311 to find the nearest location, or they can stop by public buildings - such as libraries and police stations - to find reprieve from the heat.

Outside the city, people who need to escape the heat can visit more than 120 state government offices across Illinois. Cooling centers are being opened at all Department of Human Services offices and at seven Illinois Tollway oases in the Chicago area.

The Department on Aging is encouraging people to make daily visits or calls to senior citizens living alone. With temperatures and humidity so high, seniors and people with chronic health conditions can suffer from dehydration and other health risks. The Public Health Department encourages people of all ages to drink plenty of fluids; avoid caffeine, alcohol and sugar; wear appropriate clothing and stay in air-conditioned rooms whenever