Apr 29, 2024 - News

Chicago braces for an unusually hot summer

A woman sits on the sidewalk of a street on a hot summer day, with kids playing in spraying water in the background.

Neighbors play in an open fire hydrant in Englewood in 2020. Photo: Armando L. Sanchez/Chicago Tribune/Tribune News Service via Getty Images

​​The Chicago area is expected to have a hotter-than-usual summer, according to new forecasts and scientific research.

Why it matters: Extreme heat is a major public health threat and plays a role in droughts and wildfires.

Graphic of the US with different colors shading weather temperatures
Image: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

The big picture: Everywhere in the Lower 48 — except for North Dakota — is projected to be hotter than average, but with varying odds.

  • Chicago, along with areas spanning from the UP all the way down to Florida, has a 40% to 50% chance of an unusually hot summer.

This comes as summers have been getting hotter over time due to human-caused climate change and sprawl.

  • Chicago could also see higher temperatures based on the Urban Heat Index, which takes into account the built environment. The average UHI index per capita is highest in New York (9.5°F), San Francisco (8.8°F), and here in Chicago (8.3°F), based on data crunched by Climate Central.

The National Weather Service recently unveiled an expanded "HeatRisk" forecast map, with a color-coded scale aimed at communicating the health risks from heat exposure.

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