That was the overwhelming opinion of residents Thursday as near record-high temperatures blanketed the area, bringing a triple-digit high for the first time in more than seven years.
The National Weather Service said the official high at Rockford and O’Hare International Airport was 100 degrees. Some area residents reported on the Northwest Herald’s Facebook page that they saw triple-digit highs on their home thermometers.
But the extreme heat wasn’t enough to stop Britney Finucane and her family from enjoying the beach at the Three Oaks Recreation Area in Crystal Lake. The Algonquin residents found a spot in the shade and came well-prepared with plenty of sunscreen, refreshments and snacks.
“We got here early, and we are planning on staying late,” Finucane said. “The hotter the better, as long as we are near the water.”
Six-year-old Nova summed up her weather preference in four words.
“I like it hot,” she said.
Skyler Finucane agreed.
“It’s not as bad out as I thought it would be,” the 12-year-old said. “I’d rather it be hot like this than cold outside.”
While some enjoyed the outdoors Thursday, others continued the workweek as usual.
Road crews from the McHenry County Division of Transportation shifted to a
6 a.m.-to-2:30 p.m. for the summer to limit the time workers spend using heavy machinery in the heat, MCDOT Maintenance Supervisor Mark DeVries said.
Workers laid down more blacktop earlier in the week to limit the amount that needed to be put down Thursday, and the summer works hours Thursday were moved up an additional hour – 5 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
“The biggest thing we can do is try to have everyone working during the coolest part of the day,” DeVries said. “We tried to adjust our crews wherever possible and eased the workload where we could.”
Adjustments also included more frequent water breaks and time in the shade.
The excessive heat forced Chicago Public Schools to cancel some summer school classes for lack of air conditioning.
Although all schools at Woodstock District 200 have air conditioning, administrators on Thursday gave parents the option to keep their children in summer school home for the day. Select buses also were staffed with extra supervisors in case of heat-related emergencies, and extra buses were on hand in case others overheated.
“We wanted to give parents the option to keep their children home if they had a concern,” said Mark Heckmon, associate superintendent for human resources and operations. “If their child did come to school, we asked that he or she be prepared.”
Crystal Lake South canceled its baseball and wrestling camps for the day.
Crystal Lake residents on Walkup Road reported power outages and at about 9 p.m. ComEd said there were 13 customers without power in Crystal Lake. Crystal Lake is in ComEd’s west region, which had about 900 reported outages.
The temperatures are expected to be in the low 90s through Wednesday, with a slight chance for scattered thunderstorms throughout the weekend.
The county cooling center is at the Illinois Health and Human Services Building, 2215 Lake Shore Drive, Woodstock. Other cooling station locations vary by community.
Ways to beat the heat
Prolonged exposure to heat can be dangerous if precautions are not taken, according to the McHenry County Department of Health.
Tips to stay cool include:
• Schedule strenuous outside work for the early morning or evening and take frequent breaks in the shade or air-conditioned areas.
• Stay hydrated during the day and drink extra fluids when exercising or being outdoors.
• If taking medication, be aware of how it may interact with heat.
• Watch out for those at greatest risk – very young children, people with health conditions, the elderly and pets.
• Spend time in locations where air conditioning is available.
Symptoms of heat-related illnesses include:
• HEAT EXHAUSTION: Symptoms may include headaches, weak pulse, rapid pulse, excessive sweating, dizziness, and in some instances, fainting, clammy skin, chills, cold, nausea, vomiting, muscle cramps or very fast or very shallow breathing. Immediate action includes immersing the body in cold water.
• HEAT STROKE: Unlike heat exhaustion, victims of heat stroke have warm skin that is dry to the touch because they’ve sweated out their extra water, leaving the body’s natural cooling system without a key cooling mechanism. High fever, severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, and a strong, rapid pulse all accompany heat stroke. Victims may become confused and can lose consciousness. Immediate action includes seeking medical assistance and cooling the victim.
The following Centegra cooling stations are open to those in need of cooling relief from noon to 8 p.m. today:
• Centegra Hospital-McHenry, 4201 Medical Center Drive.
• Centegra Hospital-Woodstock, 3701 Doty Road.
• Centegra Specialty Hospital-Woodstock, 527 W. South St.
• Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center-Crystal Lake, 200 Congress Parkway
• Centegra Health Bridge Fitness Center-Huntley, 10450 Algonquin Road
• McHenry County’s cooling center is at the Illinois Health & Human Services Building, 2215 Lake Shore Drive, Woodstock.