Heat Warnings Issued in Ontario As Western Canada Faces “Prolonged, Dangerous, and Historic” Heatwave

Environment Canada issued heat warnings on Monday for Ottawa, most of eastern Ontario and Gatineau.

The weather agency said Monday afternoon’s forecast high in Ottawa is around 31 C, with humidity making it feel more like 40.

It’s unlikely to drop below 20 C at night with overnight humidity making it feel like it’s 25. The temperature is expected to be the same on Tuesday.

Renfrew County and the rest of western Quebec don’t have any Environment Canada weather alerts, while the Belleville area has a special weather statement about humidity that may make it feel close to 40.

There is some relief in the forecast with Wednesday’s high expected to be about 25 C with a 70 per cent chance of showers.

There is an extreme heat wave in western Canada that’s included the country’s highest temperature on record of 46.6 C.

Environment Canada is warning the extreme heat wave that has settled over much of Western Canada won’t lift for days, although parts of British Columbia and Yukon could see some relief sooner.

Heat warnings remain posted across B.C. and Alberta, large parts of Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories and a section of Yukon as the weather office forecasts temperatures reaching 40 C in some areas.

Sixty heat records fell on Sunday in B.C., including in the Village of Lytton, where temperatures reached 46.6 C — breaking the all-time Canadian high of 45 C set in Saskatchewan in 1937.

Environment Canada warns that the “prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave” could ease as early as Tuesday on B.C.’s South Coast and in Yukon but won’t relent until mid-week or early next week elsewhere.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says that record is expected to be shattered again Monday, possibly in Abbotsford, B.C.

“This is absolutely connected to climate change,” she said. “First of all, our baseline has shifted. Our new normals are already one to three degrees warmer across the province, even up to four or five degrees warmer through the north.”

Wagstaffe says moving forward, British Columbia is forecast to experience more extreme heat earlier on in the summer, as well as more days with temperatures above 30 C.

“While you can’t take one event and say it’s directly connected to climate change, this is consistent with what climate change will continue to do to our province.”

Alberta is set to be the country’s hot spot on Tuesday, with temperatures in the high 30s, and more all-time provincial records are expected to be broken before temperatures come down Friday, Wagstaffe says.

Those living in the areas affected by the heat wave are being advised to take certain precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses, which can sometimes be life-threatening.

Here are some tips to stay safe in extreme heat:

  • Avoid the direct sun as much as possible.
  • Plan to spend time in a cool, or air-conditioned place, such as a library, a mall or even a movie theatre if you can.
  • Drink a lot of water, even before you feel thirsty.
  • Avoid strenuous activity and exercise.
  • Avoid sunburn and wear sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher on exposed skin and an SPF 30 lip balm.
  • Wear lightweight, light-coloured, loose-fitting clothing and a wide-brimmed hat, or use an umbrella for shade.

In B.C., municipalities and districts have opened cooling centres at public libraries and community centres for those who don’t have air conditioning.

Forecasters say humid conditions could make it feel close to 50 C in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, and area raspberry growers say any cooling by Tuesday may come too late for their heat-ravaged crops — with one farm posting on social media that its season is likely over before a single berry has been picked.

Flood watches are in place across B.C. for the extreme snow melt that is happening on mountain tops due to the high temperatures.

School districts across the province have cancelled classes for the day rather than hold them in classrooms without air conditioning, and the Fraser Health Authority says it is temporarily juggling appointments and relocating several COVID-19 vaccination clinics to reduce the chance of heat-related illnesses.

“All individuals with appointments at affected immunization clinics will be notified to proceed to alternate clinics and all appointments will be honoured,” the health authority said in a statement released Saturday.

More information was expected to be released by the end of the day on Monday regarding any extension of the temporary measures, Fraser Health said.


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