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Stormy skies and high winds hit the Region after a long day of baking in the sun, knocking out the power for more than a thousand people. 

An excessive heat warning remained in effect until 9 p.m. Saturday for Northwest Indiana, according to the National Weather Service. 

The highest recorded temperature Saturday in Northwest Indiana reached 97 degrees in Valparaiso, said Meteorologist Charles Mott of the NWS Romeoville office. The heat index, a combination of the temperature and relative humidity, was in the triple digits at 110 degrees, according to the NWS. 

However, Northwest Indiana had a cool-down in the evening when Lake, Porter, Jasper and Newton counties saw storm clouds and high winds cut through the heat. The wind also blew branches into power lines, causing significant outages.   

NIPSCO reported 1,655 outages throughout the Region as of 8:30 p.m. Saturday, with 844 in Crown point, 237 in Highland, 211 in Gary, 140 in Hobart and 65 in Valparaiso without power, according to the NIPSCO website. Other communities that also had multiple outages included Dyer, East Chicago, Griffith, Hammond, Hebron, Schererville, St. John, Lake Station, Merrillville, Munster and LaPorte.

Outages earlier in the day were due to heat-related equipment issues, said NIPSCO Spokeswoman Tara McElmurry. Once the high winds swept through Northwest Indiana, there was a significant spike in outages from downed branches and damaged power lines, she said. 

McElmurry said NIPSCO didn't have a set time of restoration yet for the outages but crews were out en masse working hard to resolve them. 

"Crews are out there trying to find damage and get power running as quickly and safely as possible," McElmurry said. "Those winds came though and caused a lot of damage."

She said customers should report issues and concerns by calling 1-800-4-NIPSCO. 

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"Yesterday, today and tomorrow our dispatch center is closely monitoring our whole system due to the extreme heat," McElmurry said. 

The NWS warns that children, the elderly and pets are especially sustainable to the heat and can experience illnesses such as heat stroke. Strenuous outdoor activities should be avoided and people should stay hydrated. Even after the sun goes down, the oppressive warmth can lead to hazardous health conditions at night, the NWS cautioned.

At 3:26 p.m. Friday, police responded to a report of a large dog and a cat locked inside of an unattended vehicle in the Walmart parking lot at 1555 U.S. 41 in Schererville, according to the Schererville Police Department log.

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Police said the vehicle's front windows were rolled up with the back windows cracked open about two inches. At the time, the temperature was about 95 degrees and both animals were breathing heavily and showing signs of distress, police reported.

Young children and pets should never be left unattended in a vehicle under any circumstances as car interiors can reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes, the NWS said.

Sunday will see cooler temps with a high near 81 degrees and a low of 67 degrees, according to the NWS. Morning thunderstorms and showers are likely before 10 a.m.

Monday will be even cooler with a high near 76 degrees and temps dropping as low as 60 degrees Monday night. Showers are also expected before 1 p.m. Monday but the rest of the day is expected to be dry. 

Here's a look at local cooling centers

Here's a look at local cooling centers

Communities in the Region may be offering cooling centers due to the hot temperatures. These locations have been used in the past as warming and cooling centers, but be sure to call ahead to verify hours. Are we missing a location? Is a listed location no longer valid? Email our editors at newstips@nwi.com.

Click here for a look at our list of local pools and splash pads.

contributed

Location: 605 Washington St., LaPorte

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Location: 513 W. Chicago Ave, East Chicago

Address: 1202 Cumberland Crossing, Valparaiso, Ind. 46383

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Night Crime/Breaking News Reporter

Anna Ortiz is the breaking news/crime reporter for The Times, covering crime, politics, courts, investigative news and more. She is a Region native and graduate of Ball State University with a major in journalism and minor in anthropology.