On one of the longest days of the year, residents are encouraged to make smart choices to avoid heat-related illnesses.
Today is the first day of summer. Gilbert Sebenste, meteorologist for Northern Illinois University, said Tuesday and today are the longest days of the year, with sunrise at 5:19 a.m. and sunset at 8:31 p.m.
Sebenste said today’s high temperature is expected to be about 92 degrees.
“So for the first day of summer, we are ushering it in with very appropriate temperatures, I guess,” he said.
The breeze has offered some relief, Sebenste said, but relative humidity could reach 40 percent to 50 percent this afternoon. Scattered thunderstorms are predicted to begin late tonight or early Thursday. A cool front will hit around dawn Thursday, which will bring temperatures in the mid-80s with less humidity Thursday and Friday, he said.
Sebenste encouraged people to stay inside during hours of peak sun, and engage in outdoor activities such as hiking or jogging in the morning or evening hours.
“That will reduce your chances for severe sunburn,” he said.
DeKalb Interim Fire Chief Eric Hicks said people should wear loose-fitting, lightweight and light-colored clothing to stay cool. Drinking plenty of water and eating light, well-balanced meals also helps.
Hicks encouraged people to limit alcohol intake and avoid consuming salt tablets unless directed to do so by a doctor. Those with epilepsy, heart disease or on fluid-restricted diets should consult a doctor before increasing water intake.
DeKalb firefighters occasionally encounter heatstroke, but staying hydrated combats that ailment, Hicks said. People should spend the warmest part of the day in air-conditioned buildings such as libraries, movie theaters, malls or cooling centers when possible.
Jane Lux, DeKalb County public health administrator, said air conditioning is key to remaining cool during hot weather. She encouraged people to check on older and younger residents who are more susceptible to a heat-related illness.
Staying cool is important for pets, too. Carlos Dominguez, veterinarian at Bethany Animal Hospital in Sycamore, said pets never should be left in cars in such heat. Animals can’t cool off the same way humans can, and the more they pant, the more they overheat.
Even if it’s a quick errand, they should be left at home and have access to shade and plenty of water while outside. Pets that normally are outside during the day should be kept in a basement or garage that won’t get too hot, Dominguez said.
“Typically, if it’s uncomfortable for us, it’s uncomfortable for them,” he said.
Scott deOliveira, marketing coordinator for the DeKalb Park District, said those using DeKalb’s parks during the day should take cover under trees or open-air shelters.
“Shade would be the key there,” he said.
Golfers or those using bike paths may want to get out early or wait until evening to avoid the midday sun. Bart Desch, recreation superintendent for the Sycamore Park District, said golfers have been using the Sycamore Park golf course in the early morning recently to avoid intense sun in the middle of the day.
Desch and deOliveira said local pools offer a quick way to cool off. The DeKalb Park District’s pool at Hopkins Park, which deOliveira said has been busy the past few days, is open from 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
“We’ve had some real nice crowds here so far this summer,” he said.
Desch also said strong numbers have been present at the pool at Sycamore Park this season. The pool is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., although it will be closed from 5 to 6 p.m for swimming lessons.
• Today: Sunny, with a high near 93. Heat index values as high as 96. Breezy, with a south/southwest wind between 10 and 20 mph, with gusts as high as 30 mph.
• Thursday: A 30 percent chance of showers and thunderstorms before 1 p.m. Cloudy through midmorning, then gradual clearing, with a high near 82 degrees. Northwest wind between 5 and 10 mph, with gusts as high as 15 mph.
• Friday: Sunny, with a high near 83 degrees.
• Saturday: A chance of showers and thunderstorms. Partly sunny, with a high near 81 degrees.
Source: The National Weather Service
Local cooling centers
• Sycamore Police Department, 535 DeKalb Ave. in Sycamore, open 24 hours
• Sycamore Public Library, 103 E. State St. in Sycamore, 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday through Saturday
• DeKalb Oasis, Interstate 88, open 24 hours
• DeKalb City Hall, 200 S. Fourth St. in DeKalb, open 24 hours
• DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St. in DeKalb, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday
• The Senior Center, 330 Grove St. in DeKalb, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
• The Illinois Department of Human Services – Family Community Resource Center, 1629 Afton Road in Sycamore, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday
Watch for heatstroke
Symptoms of heatstroke include hot, dry skin or profuse sweating, hallucinations, chills, throbbing headache, high body temperature, confusion/dizziness and slurred speech.
In case of heatstroke, call 911, move the sick person to a cool, shaded area, soak the person’s clothes with water, fan the body and spray or soak them with water.
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention