90s forecast for Labor Day but won’t match earlier hot streak

After a relatively dry August with normal temperatures and just a few spikes in rain and heat, Labor Day is coming in hot — but not so much as to disrupt holiday activities.

Despite the Aug. 23-24 heat wave, the average temperature in Chicago hovered around 74 degrees throughout August. And unlike the hot stretch that prompted the summer’s first excessive heat warning in the city, the National Weather Service said temperatures will likely remain in the low to mid-90s Monday.

Cyclists, paddle boarders, loungers and joggers enjoyed the warm sun rays at Belmont Harbor on Sunday afternoon. In a small stretch of beach, dogs waded into the water chasing after Frisbees and tennis balls.

Josh McCoy and Jordan Sasek from St. Louis stood by as Baylee, their 4-year-old Dalmatian, took in the sights and sounds. It was her first time swimming in a big body of water. After a short time by the harbor, McCoy led Sasek and their dog to a grassy area and got down on one knee. He asked her to marry him. She said yes.

Josh McCoy, left, proposes to Jordan Sasek, while they spend some time at the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach with their dog Baylee on Sept. 3, 2023.

“I planned to propose about a week and a half ago, but she ended up getting sick the day before so I had to reschedule it,” McCoy said. “I was happy to come back and enjoy this city with its great people. It’s been a blessing this weekend. We love Chicago.”

Los Angeles native Haley Glor threw a red Frisbee for her dog, Wally, to catch. They’ve been constant companions since Glor moved to Chicago five years ago. She said she makes sure Wally gets plenty of time to run outdoors during warm summer days and often drives him to nearby nature preserves.

“But we’re lucky, and he absolutely loves the snow,” Glor said. Wally also gets hot pretty quickly, and given that Labor Day will be warmer than Sunday, Glor said she plans on taking him out earlier in the morning and later in the evening to avoid the highest temperatures.

Although the heat will be less oppressive than it was a week and a half ago, meteorologists still caution those enjoying what could be the last bit of summer weather to be careful — and take care of those most vulnerable such as children, older people and pets.

Haley Glor plays with her dog, Wally, at the Belmont Harbor Dog Beach on Sept. 3, 2023.

“Just as you would for hot weather, anytime, make sure to keep yourself well hydrated, stay out of the sun if you can, or in the shade, just to avoid having problems with heat exhaustion or heatstroke,” said Mark Razter, meteorologist with the weather service in Chicago. “And otherwise, just enjoy the warm, dry weather at the end of the summer.”

It won’t be dry all week, however. Heat indexes — the combination of humidity and temperature and how it feels to humans — will approach the upper 90s on Monday, Ratzer said, and might approach 100 on Tuesday as moisture accumulates in the air.

“Those days will be more humid, we will definitely have some more low-level moisture,” he said, “so it’ll get a little bit sticky as we head into the new week after the holiday.”

Jonathan Perez, 4, plays in the Crown Fountain at Millennium Park on Sept. 3, 2023.

Tuesday will be partly sunny with a 20% chance of showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m. Highest temperatures will be near 92. Wednesday might also bring showers and thunderstorms after 1 p.m., with highest temperatures reaching 90.

The Chicago Office of Emergency Management and Communications reminds residents that cooling areas at the city’s six community service centers are accessible from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays. The Garfield Center at 10 S. Kedzie Ave. will be open 24/7 to connect people to emergency shelters. The other locations are the Englewood Center at 1140 W. 79th St., King Center at 4314 S. Cottage Grove Ave., North Area Center at 845 W. Wilson Ave., South Chicago Center at 8650 S. Commercial Ave. and Trina Davila Center at 4312 W. North Ave.

During hours of operation, Chicago Public Library locations, Chicago Park District field houses and splash pads throughout the city are available to the public as well. The city’s Department of Health and Human Services has an interactive map of 222 locations with access to air conditioning across Chicago, from senior centers to community colleges to park spray features.

A cold front will move in later Wednesday, and the rest of the workweek will see highest temperatures in the mid- to upper 70s.

After a very dry beginning to the summer and heavy rains that made July the seventh wettest since 1871, meteorologists say the August precipitation total for Chicago was 1.33 inches, almost 3 inches below normal.

As a whole, this year’s meteorological summer — which spans June, July and August — saw near-normal temperatures in the city over the course of the season. The average temperature at O’Hare International Airport was recorded at 73.6, 0.3 degrees above normal.

Precipitation levels at O’Hare International Airport were 11.3 inches, less than an inch below normal, though meteorologists point to localized heavy rains leading to exceptions in some areas of the city.