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Air quality alert in effect, 90s forecast for Tuesday

If the predicted high for Tuesday reaches its mark, it would be just the third 90-degree day this year in Chicago.

Meteorologists say this summer has been relatively cool. From 1981 to 2010, Chicago summers have had an average of 14 90-degree days, said Jamie Enderlen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

“Right now we’re below — well below the usual,” she said. “But we still have plenty of summer left.”

As Chicago area temperatures begin to rise, officials have issued an air quality alert and are urging some people to limit their time outside.

An air pollution action day, issued when forecasters expect pollution levels to reach unhealthy levels for some groups, has been called by the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency through midnight Monday.

The alert covers Cook, DuPage, Kane, Kendall, Grundy, Lake, McHenry and Will counties in Illinois. Lake and Porter counties in northwest Indiana are also under an alert.

This year, there have been two 90-degree days in June (1 and 17) and Tuesday could be the first 90-degree day in July.

The average temperature for July has been 78.7 degrees, which is about 5 degrees below the monthly average temperature of 84.1 degrees. The average for August is 81.9 degrees, Enderlen said.

The weather service’s outlook for August temperatures is also below normal, as is the three-month forecast for August, September and October, she said.

Enderlen warned that a severe cold front — characteristic of this summer’s weather — could hit the Chicago area as soon as Tuesday evening, which may cause another round of strong winds and thunderstorms.

“These things fluctuate, though,” she said. “And we do get those random heat waves and warm days in the fall.”

Copyright © 2015, RedEye
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