Hot Enough For You?

Two women leave the scene of a secured area where the bodies of a child and a woman were recovered after flooding in Gainesville, Texas, Monday, June 18, 2007. The bodies are believed to be a grandmother and her grandchild, another grandchild is still missing.
AP Photo/Donna McWilliam
Chicago is blanketed in heat, so sticky you can see it, not to mention feel it, reports CBS News Correspondent Cynthia Bowers. So hot, the city has declared a heat emergency.

A cool wet spring has given way to the hottest summer in two years in parts of the Midwest. When you combine temperature and humidity it felt like 102 in Kansas City Monday, 105 in Wichita and Oklahoma City and 107 in Chicago, where volunteers were going door to door making sure everybody is OK.

Deadly Heat
In 1999, there were 502 heat-related fatalities, nearly three times the number reported in 1998. A large portion of these deaths occurred in Illinois (138), Pennsylvania (88), and Missouri (77). Heat related injuries totaled 1,477, up nearly 57% from 1998. Seniors are most at risk from heat. In 1999, those between 70 and 89 years old accounted for 47% of the year’s fatalities. As in the past, most deaths occurred in homes with out air conditioning or adequate ventilation. Those most at risk had a contributing health ailment aggravated by the heat.

Source: NOAA

The last thing Chicago wants is a repeat of the tragic summer of 1995, when extreme heat killed more than 700 people. City officials have added shelters and local utilities are confident this year customers won't lose their cool.

John Davis, a meteorologist for Salomon Smith Barney, tracks weather and the economy. He says getting the power isn't a problem, though the price might be.

"You're not looking at blackouts like you would have a couple of years ago. Worry about your bill maybe, but not the lights going out."

Until the heat breaks people are being warned, "if you don't have to go out, then don't," unless you have access to cool water — and lots of it.

It's no cooler and the grass is no greener in Detroit. For the first time in years, an outdoor watering ban is in effect. No small irony in a city perched on the edge of the world's largest body of fresh water.

A storm now making its way across the Midwest will bring relief, giving people here just the break they need because what has traditionally been the hottest month is a little more than a week away.

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