Chicago swelters in record-breaking heat wave

Crews spread tar over cracked pavement on the Lakefront Trail in Chicago as the area experiences record heat.

CBS Chicago

CHICAGO -- For the sixth day in a row, Chicago set a new record for heat, as the start of autumn has felt more like the middle of summer, CBS Chicago reports.

The official temperature in Chicago hit 91 early Monday afternoon, beating the old record for Sept. 25, when the mercury hit 90 in 1933.

The National Weather Service in Chicago tweeted the news Monday afternoon.

The previous five days were also records for heat:

  • Sunday's high of 93 beat the Sept. 24 record of 91 set in 1891
  • Saturday's high of 95 beat the Sept. 23 record of 91 set in 1937
  • Friday's high of 94 beat the Sept. 22 record of 92 set in 1956
  • Thursday's high of 94 beat the Sept. 21 record of 92 set in 1970
  • Wednesday's high of 92 beat the Sept. 20 record of 91 set in 1931

Some people in Chicago headed out to North Avenue Beach early Monday to exercise or lay out on the sand, but others had to work outdoors in the heat.

David Figueroa, a contractor with PMC Incorporated, said he and his crews were filling cracks in the Lakefront Trail with tar, going inch by inch Monday.

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David Figueroa

CBS Chicato

They started their day before dawn to beat the heat, but were already sweating by 10 a.m., and had plenty of work still left to finish.

"We started about 5:30. The sun was still down, it was still cool. Right about now, it feels a little hot," Figueroa told CBS Chicago. "I know that, throughout the day, once midday comes, it'll be 90, 95. We go right through."

Figueroa said, thankfully, his team wasn't laying asphalt, since that material has to be heated to more than 300 degrees.

They weren't the only ones hard at work under the sun. Other contractors near North Avenue Beach were cutting up concrete and pouring new sidewalk while wearing long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and hard hats.

Construction workers said the best way to get through such hot days on the job is by drinking Gatorade, wearing a big hat or sombrero to shade themselves from the sun, or donning a bandana or cloth dipped in cold water to keep cool.

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Construction crews work through record-breaking heat in Chicago.

CBS Chicago

Hardcore runners and cyclists said temperatures were bearable Monday morning, but expected it could get agonizingly hot by the afternoon.

"We're running early, right? We wouldn't want to run at midday today, but I enjoyed the weather today," jogger Leo Kane said.

Tuesday also could flirt with record heat, with a high expected around 90, which would match the Sept. 26 record set in 1998. Wednesday should bring welcome relief from the heat wave, with a high in the low 70s, beginning a long stretch of more typical autumn temperatures to close out September.

The National Weather Service tweeted a heat safety warning to urge Chicagoans not to over exert themselves.