Currently in Chicago — November 11th, 2022

The weather, currently.

A few flurries may fly

Takeaways for Chicago's weather:

1. Coldest Weekend Since March

2. A Few Flurries May Fly

3. Light Mix Tuesday?

After 70s on Thursday our highs fall into the middle 40s for Friday. Clouds early on Veterans Day then some partial clearing. A few flurries possible with mostly cloudy skies Saturday and a high in the upper 30s. More sun Sunday but it won’t warm us up with highs again only in the upper 30s. Mostly cloudy Monday and “warming” into the lower 40s. We fall to 40 for the high on Tuesday with some light rain and snow possible. Welcome to early winter!

Tim McGill

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What you need to know, currently.

Extreme heat has caused hundreds of deaths in Texas prisons, new research shows.

The study, which was published in the JAMA Network Open journal last week, showed a noticeable correlation between  lack of air conditioning, and the risk of inmate death, in U.S. prisons. The research also revealed that in Texas, where just one in every three prisons in the state is fully air-conditioned, 271 people have died over the past two decades because of the state’s failure to properly cool their prisons.

These deaths occurred on particularly hot days, where the heat index rose above the location’s 90th percentile. According to the study, the risk of death rose to nearly 15 percent on these days. Each one degree increase in temperature over 85 degrees F (29 degrees C) increased risk of death by 0.7 percent.

And, extreme heat and exhaustion have more health impacts than just death. The risk of heat related illness increases when people are exposed to temperatures that frequently go beyond 100 degrees F (38 degrees C), often reporting dizziness, nausea, heat rashes and muscle cramps.

Temperatures inside Texas prisons have reached as high as 149 degrees F (65 degrees C) in recent years. Historically, the state has seen temperatures anywhere from around 50 degrees F to 90 degrees F (10 to 32 degrees C). However, climate change will lead to hotter, more oppressive temperatures — and more frequent hot days. In fact, more than a third of Texas counties will be subject to more than 50 days with heat above 105 degrees F (41 degrees C), according to data from the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists.

Regardless of these dangerous conditions, Texas lawmakers have failed to advance bills that would fund increased air conditioning in prisons, claiming that there haven’t been any heat-related deaths. This is, of course, a lie.

Texas does require that some inmates — like those in county jails where folks often await trial — have air-conditioning. The Texas Commission on Jail Standards requires that all county jails keep the temperatures between 65 and 85 degrees F (18-29 degrees C).

If similar temperature regulations were enacted in state prisons, it could save lives.

—Aarohi Sheth

What you can do, currently.