Chicago-area heat wave forces school closings
September 9, 2013 (CHICAGO) (WLS) -- A late summer heat wave has pushed temperatures to near record levels, and as the mercury rises, Chicago-area residents are wilting.
Twenty schools in the western suburbs are closed Tuesday because they don't have air conditioning. They're part of Indian Prairie School District 204 which includes Naperville, Aurora, Bolingbrook and Plainfield.
School Closings: See the latest Chicago-area school closings
They have fans working overtime at Brookdale Elementary School Monday night. But Naperville District 204 officials have decided with temperatures in the 90s expected, the fans are not enough to keep the school open on Tuesday. Brookdale is one of 20 schools in the district that will be closed because of the heat.
"I know a lot of other moms are actually happy that there is no air conditioning in the school, that the kids were able to stay home. I know a lot of the other moms were talking about keeping their kids home anyways. So we're happy they'll be home, cool and safe," said Tina Burke, mother.
"I was actually pretty excited because I don't like a school that much," said Jonah Elston.
White Eagle is one of the other elementary schools that will close. The district's five high schools and seven middle schools all have air conditioning.
In nearby Aurora, 17 schools without air conditioning will be open but will dismiss early to avoid the warmer afternoon temperatures. On Monday night at U.S. Cellular Field, the Sox have special cooling areas for over-heated fans with air conditioning and misters.
The heat caused problems for commuters on the South Shore train Monday evening. According to the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District, high temperature speed restrictions were enforced until 8 p.m. on Monday night and commuters encountered 10-20 minute delays on all trains.
The summer may be winding down, but it's not over just yet.
"We live a few blocks away from the beach so we look forward to these days," said Shelby Harris, beachgoer.
At 12th Street Beach, several folks were out enjoying a lazy Monday in the sun, the benefit of having a weekday off.
"I hope we'll have lots of Mondays like this but I guess they are winding down. It's sad," said Izet Husic, beachgoer.
Monday's hot weather didn't keep some folks from their daily workout.
"It's a hot day for a run, yeah, but you gotta be smart. And take it easy. That's why we walk a little before we start again," said Alex Garcia, runner.
King salmon anyone? These gentlemen wrapped up a day of fishing under the shade of Jackson Park with a pretty nice catch.
"As long as you're out here those issues and problems leave you. You can't take them home but while you're out here this water calms you down. It's soothing, it's relaxing," said William Powell, fisherman.
And it wasn't a bad day for a round of golf either. We caught up with Phil and Reginald teeing off at Jackson Park's 16th hole.
"We go to a driving range one day, we play one day. It never helps, we always play badly, but we always have a good time," said Phil Gant.
But not everyone can enjoy the outdoors. Mold and ragweed counts are particularly high this week. For those with allergies, the hot September weather is far from a blessing.
"This year, my allergies are worse than they have been in the past earlier in the year. I'm feeling symptoms now that I would have felt maybe in mid-October," said Hilda Vazquez, allergy sufferer.
At Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Dr. Anju Peters says the allergy season does seem to be getting longer, but that's no reason to stay inside.
"Be outside during the later parts of day when pollen counts are lower. Also change your clothes when you get inside. Keep your windows closed and stay in the AC while pollen counts are higher, which is early morning hours," said Dr. Anju Peters, Northwestern Memorial Hospital.
Though it is the mold count that is extraordinarily high on Monday, doctors say ragweed will be the most problematic allergen over the next few days.
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