Over the next two days, the Chicago area is expected to see some of the hottest weather in nearly five years -- since a 97-degree high on Aug. 2, 2006.
The 95-degree high forecast at O'Hare International Airport today and Wednesday is 18 degrees above the normals for June 7 and 8, and far higher than the 70- and 67-degree highs recorded on the same dates a year ago, according to WGN-TV meteorologist Tom Skilling.
Heat advisories have been posted through Wednesday across southern Wisconsin, western Illinois and eastern Iowa. Predicted peak afternoon heat index readings of 97 to 103 degrees put the Chicago area close to the advisory threshold as well.
The heat index combines air temperature and relative humidity in an attempt to describe how hot it actually feels.
Today's hot and humid weather has prompted the National Weather Service to issue a hazardous weather outlook for most of northern Illinois and northwest Indiana.
Today's temperature should come close to the record 100 degrees set in 1933.
The heat index likely will hit 100 once again Wednesday afternoon. There is a chance of showers and thunderstorms in the evening.
The prospect of a dangerously hot two days prompted city officials to call a press conference Monday to advise on precautionary steps. Among them:
• Drink plenty of water, at least eight glasses a day
• Avoid going out in the hottest part of the day
• Wear loose-fitting clothing
• Check on elderly friends, relatives and neighbors. City residents can call 311 to request well-being checks and rides to cooling centers.
• Be aware of the dangers of heat exhaustion and heat stroke. Heat exhaustion is a milder form of heat-related illness that can develop after several days of exposure to high temperatures and inadequate or unbalanced replacement of fluids. Heat stroke is more serious, occurring when the body starts to lose its ability to regulate itself. Its signs are extremely high body temperature (103 or above), dizziness and nausea, a throbbing headache and rapid pulse, and red, hot, dry skin.
For updates, go to the chicagoweathercenter.com.