Another heat wave is gripping northern Illinois this week. While the extreme temperatures will create difficult conditions for many residents, a Northern Illinois University professor says residents are in a much better position to prevent heat-related fatalities than was the case more than 15 years ago.
It was in 1995 when hundreds of Chicago-area residents died in a heat wave. Professor of meteorology Dave Changnon compared data from that event to a recent string of hot days in the region. He says there were a lot of similarities between the two. But he believes more awareness limited the number of deaths in 2012:
"We just changed a lot of the ways we communicate the dangers associated with a heat wave. The idea that whether it's the National Weather Service or whether it's our community leaders, our warning people, to get indoors, to drink a lot of water, to rest and get away from the sun." - Dave Changnon, NIU professor of meteorology
Between July 4th and July 7th...there were nearly 20 heat-related deaths in the Chicago region. That compares to more than 700 during heat wave from the mid-90's.