Weather Warming Up, Whooping Cough on the Rise, Toys-R-Us Layaway

High pressure building in will lead to a prolonged dry stretch through the end of the week. With the wind out of the north, temperatures will reach the upper 60s this afternoon close to the lakeshore, but further inland expect a pleasant afternoon with highs in the low 70s. Warmer air moves back in as we head to the middle of the week and the wind shifts out of the southwest. Expect temperatures in the low 80s by Wednesday.

Many states are seeing higher than expected cases of whooping cough. As of July 20, 2012, nearly 18,000 pertussis cases have been reported to CDC for 2012. That's more than twice as many as we had at the same time last year. In fact, it's more than we had in each of the past 5 years. We may be on track for record high pertussis rates this year. Whooping cough is a serious disease and it is most serious in infants who are too young to be fully vaccinated. The infection is especially dangerous for children younger than a year old who have yet to complete the full cycle of vaccinations against the ailment. In general, more than half of babies younger than 1 year of age who get the disease need to be cared for in the hospital. The whooping cough often begins with cold-like symptoms like sneezing, a runny nose, or a fever and is accompanied by a mild cough that becomes more severe in the first or second week. Coughing fits are often followed by a high-pitched whoop, giving the illness its name.

Toys-R-Us is gearing up for the holiday shopping season, but with the economic outlook so uncertain, the store is making some changes – it's offering free layaway. The toy store plans to waive its $5 up-front fee for layaway items though the end of October. Shoppers have to make a 20 percent down payment, which is normal for Toys-R-Us, and then pay the full total by mid-December. Click here for details of the plan.

Julia Tullos, WOIO Assignment Manager