McHenry County weather outlook: It could get dangerously hot

Excessive Heat Watch in effect from Wednesday morning through Thursday afternoon

A couple waits for the stoplight to change Tuesday, June 14, 2022, at the intersection of West Elm and Front streets, as temperatures in the McHenry County area reached the mid-90’s.

Potentially life-threatening temperatures are in store for McHenry County residents this week, with heat indexes projected to climb well into the triple digits, according to the National Weather Service.

With the dangerous temperatures on the way, McHenry County health officials posted a list of cooling centers in the area where people could find respite from the scorching heat. People who work outside, along with residents in general, were urged to stay indoors and drink plenty of fluids.

“These are quite unusual and dangerous heat levels,” Zachary Yack, a meteorologist at the National Weather Service, said.

The National Weather Service issued an excessive heat watch on Monday warning that heat indices later in the week are projected to be between 105 and 115 degrees. The heat watch starts Wednesday morning and lasts through Thursday evening, the weather service said.

Yack added that “strong enough onshore winds” from Lake Michigan might cool down areas closer to the lake.

Brooke Loyd, Chief Deputy Director of the McHenry County Emergency Management Agency, advised people to stay inside if possible, wear lighter clothes and drink more fluids during the heat wave.

“The big thing we’re concerned about is the safety of those working outside,” Loyd said.

The McHenry County Department of Health posted a list of 15 cooling shelters, most of them with daytime hours, in the area on Facebook Monday.

AlgonquinGanek Municipal Center
2200 Harnish Drive
847-658-2700Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
HarvardHarvard Senior Center
6817 Harvard Hills Road
815-943-2740Monday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
HarvardMercy Health Harvard Hospital
901 Grant St.
Island LakeIsland Lake Village Hall
3720 Greenleaf Ave.
847-526-8764Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Lake in the HillsIrv Floress Safety Education Center
1109 Crystal Lake Road
847-658-5676Call ahead
LakemoorLakemoor Police Department
28581 W Il Route 120
815-385-4111Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
LakewoodLakewood Village Hall
2500 Lake Ave.
815-459-3025Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
MarengoMarengo City Hall
132 E. Prairie
815-568-7112During work hours only
MarengoMarengo Park District
825 Indian Oaks Trail
815-568-5126Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Prairie GrovePrairie Grove Village Hall
3125 Barreville Road
815-455-1411Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
McHenryMcHenry City Hall
333 S. Green St.
815-363-2100Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
McHenryMcHenry Township
3703 N. Richmond Road
Johnsburg, IL
815-385-5605Monday-Friday: 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
(Contact Debbie Macrito during business hours if the center is needed after 4:30 p.m.)
Port BarringtonPort Barrington Community Room
75 S. Circle Ave.
847-639-7595During work hours only
WoodstockWoodstock Public Library
414 W. Judd
815-338-0542Monday-Thursday: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Friday-Saturday: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Not open until noon on first Friday of the month.)
WoodstockMcHenry County Judicial Center
2200 N. Seminary Ave.
815-334-4000Monday-Friday: 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Source: McHenry County Department of Health

In a Monday news release, the McHenry County Department of Health wrote that residents also should check on vulnerable neighbors, familiarize themselves with the signs and symptoms of heat-related illnesses, not leave pets in cars and make sure food in the refrigerator stays at 41 degrees or below. If food temperature rises above that threshold, it should be thrown out.

McHenry County businesses whose workers spend lots of time outside are taking precautions to ensure workers stay safe in the heat.

Ringers Landscaping in Crystal Lake is planning to send its crews out earlier in the day during the heat wave to avoid the extreme heat.

“Supervisors are visiting twice per shift with Gatorade and popsicles,” managing partner Russ Scott said.

Scott added the Occupational Health and Safety Administration comes by every year to do a presentation on the signs of heat stroke, and supervisors visit crews with Gatorade and popsicles when the temperature rises above 85 degrees.

Pagni’s Sealcoating in Union is taking similar precautions, with staff members checking in on crews and bringing water and Gatorade.

“We don’t do as much work as we typically do,” Destiny Pagni, who works at the company, said. “They’re allowed to take as many breaks as they need.”

The Prairie Grove Police Department sent out an alert Monday letting residents know Groot, the town’s trash pickup company, will begin collecting trash at 5 a.m. on Thursday because of the heat.

Kiel Pennington, Division Vice President for Groot, said the company is taking similar heat precautions, including having cooling towels and coolers at landfills for workers, adding that many of the trucks are air-conditioned.

“We don’t do this unless there’s a heat index well over 100,” Pennington said. “We want to keep them safe.”

The heat wave isn’t just impacting workers outside.

Dominic Flood, the general manager of Whisper Creek Golf Club in Huntley, said the golf course, whose clientele is often older residents because of its location in Sun City, tends to be quieter once the temperatures pass the 90-degree threshold.

“Our tee sheets are less busy than normal,” general manager Dominic Flood said. “The seniors don’t like to play when it’s too hot.”