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For the first official day of summer, people in Evanston seemed to be staying inside to escape the heat.

The National Weather Service predicted hazardous weather temperatures of more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit across Cook County and advised residents to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses.

From left, construction workers Romel Guadarrama, Junior González, Colton Rankins and Ramon Amaro worked in the heat in Evanston on Tuesday. Credit: Photo by Duncan Agnew

The city encouraged residents to visit their three public cooling locations: the Levy Senior Center, 300 Dodge Ave.; the Robert Crown Community Center, 1801 Main St., and the Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave.

At the main library branch on Tuesday, librarian Morgan Patten said there had been less traffic than usual at the library, despite its being designated as a cooling center. Patten estimated about 40 people visited the third floor, where she works.

Based on her experience, Patten said, it might be too hot to leave the house, even to visit an air-conditioned building. She said about a third of those visiting the library are there for “climate control” or to avoid the weather.

“It’s a little contradictory,” she said. “Some days that it’s really severe [weather], you almost don’t see your most regular people. They’re not coming out.”

Clarence Weaver, owner of C&W Market and Ice Cream Parlor, said the heat did not increase ice cream sales.

“A little less traffic because people are staying in until it cools down,” he said. “So it’d be great if it was the other way around. But that’s understandable because people try and stay safe as well.”

Some people, though, couldn’t avoid the heat.

A group of construction workers on Sherman Avenue finished up an eight-hour shift around 4 p.m. They were the only crew still hanging out at the end of the day, as almost everyone else had already left to escape the intense heat.

Colton Rankins, one of the workers, said they took breaks and didn’t push themselves as hard as they would normally. “On an average cooler day, we’ll be working harder, stronger. But days like today, when it’s 105, you don’t,” Rankins said.

For residents looking for ways to stay cool and safe, the City of Evanston provided a list of tips.

  • Drink lots of water, and avoid alcohol, caffeine and high salt intake
  • Stay in cool, shaded areas while outdoors, and keep the blinds drawn or the lights down indoors.
  • Use air conditioners or fans, and avoid excessive exposure to heat in unventilated areas.
  • Reduce physical activity.
  • Take cool baths or showers, and use cool towels.
  • Wear loose, light cotton clothing and a breathable hat.
  • Eat light meals; avoid eating heavy meals and using the oven.
  • Do not leave people or pets alone in a hot car, even for a few minutes.
  • Check on the elderly and those with disabilities.

Debbie-Marie Brown

Debbie-Marie Brown is a reporter and Racial Justice Fellow at the Evanston RoundTable. They cover the local reparations initiative, Black life in Evanston, and the 5th ward. Contact Debbie-Marie at dmb@evanstonroundtable.com...

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