Brace for temps in the mid-90s in the Illinois Valley

National Weather Service says no warnings ahead – yet

Sgt. Brett Valle was on foot patrol Sunday during Oglesby Summer Fun Fest and he girded for the heat: A cooling vest, frequent stops in the shade and plenty of water and Gatorade.

Summer Fun Fest ended under sunny skies and a wilting 92 degrees. While Valle isn’t one to complain – he swore to protect and serve – he admitted looking forward to a cooling shower after his shift was over.

“I’m more of a football-weather guy,” Valle said.

Valle and others looking forward to kickoff (81 days to go) and to cool autumn days probably won’t be happy with the seven-day outlook. If the forecast bears out, air conditioners may run even during the wee hours when temperatures bottom out in the mid-70s. During the day, it’ll be much hotter.

Monday could bring a daytime high of 94 degrees and Friday could hit 95. In between, no weekday will top out any lower than 90 degrees. A reprieve isn’t expected until Sunday, which should bring a spring-like high of 79 degrees.

The good news is the National Weather Service does not anticipate issuing a heat advisory or warning – at least not yet.

Brett Borchardt, a meteorologist with the NWS office in Chicago, said a heat advisory is issued when the heat index (or feels-like temperature) is projected to reach 105 degrees and a heat warning issued when it’ll feel like 110. Borchardt said Sunday this week’s forecast should fall short of both thresholds.

“That doesn’t mean the heat isn’t dangerous,” Borchardt said.

Tim Gross, a meteorologist for the Quad Cities region, said Bureau County will feel the effects of an upper level, high pressure system – a heat dome, in layman’s terms – that will indeed make things toasty through June 22.

But forecasts are subject to change and Gross recommended watching the outlook in case the mercury unexpectedly inches north.

“Make sure you stay hydrated and drink plenty of water if you’re outside the next couple of days,” Gross said.

That goes double for people monitoring the elderly and domesticated animals. Check on seniors, get them to wear light and loose-fitting clothes and ensure they drink plenty of fluids. (Alcohol and beverages with caffeine are not recommended.) For the furry friends, keep them in cool, shaded spots with access to fresh water.

Borchardt urged extra caution because the coming heat will seem unfamiliar after a mild start to the summer season. Memorial Day was, in fact, agreeable and May closed with daytime highs ranging from 72 to 83 degrees, making this week’s temperatures a potential shock to the system.

Illinois state climatologist Trent Ford reported 2024 to date has been warmer than normal. January to April marked the fourth warmest start to any year on record in Illinois and that trend continued in May.

“That said, Illinois largely escaped early season extreme heat that we experienced in 2021 and 2022,” Ford said, “making for largely pleasant temperatures last month.”

Even after this week’s temperature recede, drought could be a concern. Though Ford reported statewide average total May precipitation was 4.85 inches (0.08 inches above average) the U.S. Drought Monitor showed Thursday a band of “abnormally dry” conditions roughly tracking the Illinois River from Quincy to Kane County.

Putnam County, most of Bureau County and parts of La Salle County are dry and, with little chance of rain this week, could be downgraded to moderate drought when conditions are updated June 20.

David Isermann, president of the La Salle County Farm Bureau, will be watching.

“We are always concerned about the next drought,” Isermann said. “We have gone from too wet to some areas needing a rain. Subsoil moisture is good if the crops have their roots deep enough.

“The planting season was so extended some of the later plantings may show some effect from the heat and surface dryness. Most should be OK. July rain and temperatures are very important to the corn crop.”

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