Meteorologist Richard Castro’s advice for today: Stay indoors.
If you can help it.
With a heat advisory in effect from noon to 8 p.m. today and temperatures expected to climb to 102 degrees, those who plan to spend time outdoors today are advised to take extra precautions.
Fortunately, “Splish Splash” is the theme for the DeKalb Park District’s outdoor day camp this week as the heat index today is expected to reach more than 106 degrees.
Gilbert Sebenste, Northern Illinois University meteorologist, said the extreme heat will be a major concern for 24 hours. If the sun is shining today, the temperature likely will reach triple digits with a higher heat index.
Sebenste warned that those who have outdoor plans should consider postponing them and venture outside only in the early morning or late evening.
Colleen Belmont, program director for the DeKalb Park District, said the focus today will be on water games to help the more than 50 children in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade keep cool.
“We plan on keeping wet and hydrated,” she said, adding that the camp’s five pre-kindergarten children spend only half the day at the camp.
The plan to beat the heat is similar for the 80 campers at Camp Maple Leaf, a half-day outdoor camp that caters to adults and children with special needs.
Suzie Zeeh, director of the Kishwaukee Special Recreation Association that runs the camp, said campers are doubling up on pool time today. The plan is to have them spend only 1˝ hours outside of the water. That time likely will be filled with water games, and the DeKalb Park District basement is available for campers who need to cool off.
Belmont said the park district is providing tents for shade, big coolers of ice and lots of sunscreen. If necessary, campers can cool off in air-conditioned rooms at Haish Gym; big fans are in place to cool children off in the gym.
Bill Ryder, athletic director at the DeKalb Park District, said he’s keeping a close eye on the weather before deciding whether to call any evening athletic games, which don’t start until 6 p.m.
He said extreme heat is treated the same as a rainout or weather-related cancellation. The park district has a text message alert that goes to players and coaches when games are canceled and moved to a different date.
“We don’t know how hot it will be [by 6 p.m.],” he said. “The sun is still hot, but it’s not as critical.”
Castro, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago, said the area’s previous record-high temperature for June 28 may be eclipsed. That 103-degree reading was taken in Rockford in 1934.
Heat advisories go into effect when heat indexes reach more than 105 degrees, which is expected today.
Edith Craig, head of programming and public relations for the DeKalb Public Library, said hot weather tends to drive more traffic through the library, especially in the computer and magazine sections.
The library is a designated cooling center and is open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Family Service Agency’s DeKalb Senior Center is another cooling center. Cheryl Clayton, program assistant for the center, advised family members to check on elderly relatives, especially those who are homebound or don’t have air conditioning.
“It’s mainly seniors who live alone that you have to really worry about,” she said.
• Daily Chronicle reporter Caitlin Mullen contributed to this story.
DeKalb cooling centers:
• City of DeKalb Municipal Building, 200 South Fourth St., DeKalb – open 24 hours
• DeKalb Senior Center, 330 Grove St., Suite 3, DeKalb – open 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday
• DeKalb Public Library, 309 Oak St., DeKalb – open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. today and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday
• Drink plenty of water.
• Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles. Vehicle temperatures in hot weather can become lethal in a matter of minutes, according to the National Weather Service.
• Avoid strenuous activity during the warmest part of the day.
• Wear loose-fitting, lightweight clothing that covers as much skin as possible.
• Stay indoors as much as possible to limit sun exposure.
Source: DeKalb Fire Department