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Skilling: Dangerous levels of heat this week

By Tom Skilling

WGN-TV

7:03 PM CDT, July 16, 2013

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The heat and humidity gripping the Chicago area could reach dangerous levels the next few days.

The heat index -- what it feels like -- is expected to reach 100 or higher Wednesday, Thursday and maybe Friday as we see the longest string of 90-degree days in more than 11 months. Temperatures peaked this afternoon at O'Hare at 91 degrees, with a 99 degree heat index, at both 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., while the temperature at Chicago Executive Airport in Wheeling at 2 p.m. hit 93 degrees, with a 100-degree heat index.

Nighttime temperatures are not expected to drop much lower than the middle 70s, minimizing any opportunity for relief.

The National Weather Service has issued a hazardous weather outlook warning that the hot, humid air could spawn thunderstorms through sunset.

A cold front is expected to push through from the northwest on Friday, accompanied by showers and more thunderstorms. Highs for Saturday and Sunday will be in the low 80s.

Model forecasts out to two weeks indicate the current hot spell won't be the last. Longer range computer projections, which accurately identified the current hot spell well over a week ago, hint heat may build back into the area next week after the weekend hiatus.