Heatwaves, tornadoes mark 'wild and wacky' Canadian summer

Canada is having a "wild and wacky" summer that includes the current heatwave in Ontario, tornadoes and record rainfall in Manitoba, and an almost sunless summer in Newfoundland, says Environment Canada chief meteorologist David Phillips.

Toronto could see hottest day of year today as temps hits 34 C, feeling like 40 with humidex

Bathers bob in the wave pool to beat the 30 C heat at the Super Aqua club on Tuesday in Pointe-Calumet, Que. (Ryan Remiorz/Canadian Press)

Canada is having a "wild and wacky" summer that includes the current heatwave in Ontario, tornadoes and record rainfall in Manitoba, and an almost sunless summer in Newfoundland, says Environment Canada chief meteorologist David Phillips.

"This just goes to show there's no off-season for weather talk in Canada," Phillips said. 

Ontario's 'mini-heatwave'

Today is shaping up to be the hottest day of the year in Toronto, Ottawa and a number of other southern Ontario cities under heat warnings, Phillips said.

This "mini-heatwave" is just what Ontarians were praying for during the usually mild June, he said.

"Everybody was wanting it, waiting for it and hoping for it, and then when it arrives, it's just too much," Phillips said. 

Toronto will see a high of 34 C, which will feel more like 40 C factoring in the humidity. 

The highest temperature ever recorded at Pearson International Airport was 38.3 C on Aug. 25, 1948. A temperature of 40.6 C was recorded in July 1936 at a downtown Toronto station. The mark is relied on less for records because it has moved around over the years.

Wednesday's forecast prompted Toronto's medical officer of health to issue an extreme heat alert. Seven cooling centres have opened across the city. Ottawa and Montreal have also issued heat alerts.

Late Tuesday evening, Environment Canada issued an air quality warning for the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) due to high levels of ozone, but it cancelled the warning after a couple hours.

Environment Canada has issued heat alerts in Ontario for:

  • Ottawa-Gatineau.
  • Hamilton.
  • Niagara.
  • Smiths Falls-Lanark-Sharbot Lake.
  • Halton-Peel.
  • York-Durham.
  • Belleville-Quinte-Northumberland​.
  • Prescott and Russell.
  • Stirling-Tweed-South Frontenac.
  • Brockville-Leeds and Grenville.
  • Prescott and Russell.
  • Cornwall-Morrisburg.
  • ​Kingston-Prince Edward.

The government agency urges people in the affected areas to watch for symptoms of heat illness of dehydration, including headaches, nausea, dizziness, extreme thirst, rapid breathing and heartbeat, decreased urination or dark-yellow urine.

"If you experience any of these symptoms during extreme heat, immediately move to a cool place and drink liquids. Water is best," Environment Canada said.

"Frequently visit neighbours, friends and older family members, especially those who are chronically ill, to make sure that they are cool and hydrated."

The heat, combined with a weak front pushing through, brings the threat of non-severe thundershowers Wednesday evening in southwestern Ontario and Cottage Country, according to The Weather Network. Storms are also expected further north, in the Hudson's Bay area and Quebec.

By Thursday, the storms are expected to hit southern Quebec, including Montreal. 

'Weather gods' shining on Newfoundland

As Central Canada seeks relief from the hot weather, Newfoundlanders are looking for some much-needed sunshine.

"The poor people of Newfoundland. You've got to feel sorry for them," Phillips said. "But I think the weather gods are finally wanting to shine on them."

Newfoundlanders have had a cold, rainy and foggy summer, but will finally see some sun this weekend. (Not Quite)

After a summer riddled with cold and rain, St. John's is poised to see sunshine this weekend. On Saturday, there's expected to be a mix of sun and cloud with a high of 21 C, followed by 22 C on Monday and Tuesday. Similar sunny conditions are forecast across most of Atlantic Canada.

While that may seem mild to some, Phillips said it will feel "like a heatwave for them."

It has been so cold in Newfoundland and Labrador, that provincial police last week issued a press release seeking the "missing summer," and arrested local CBC weatherman Ryan Snodden in a TV gag for "trafficking rain, drizzle and fog."

​Wind warnings for Manitoba

Manitoba, which was hit Monday by what Phillips calls "one of the most exceptional tornados in Canadian history" and drenched Tuesday by record rains, is dealing with more rain and wind warnings Wednesday. 

Totals of 50 to 70 millimetres are expected by Wednesday evening before the system tracks into northern Ontario.

On Tuesday, Regina had more rain in one day in recorded history, Phillips said.

And in Manitoba, the government has issued a severe wind warning for the south basin of Lake Winnipeg and the south basin of Lake Manitoba.

Northwest winds are forecast to increase throughout the day — up to 50 km/h to 65 km/h into Wednesday afternoon.

Wind speed and direction could raise lake levels by 1.5 metres or more along those south shores, and could result in significant wave action on the shorelines, the warning states.

Lake Manitoba is currently at nearly 248 metres above sea level, while the south basin of Lake Winnipeg was last measured at nearly 218 metres above sea level.

Property owners are advised to take precautions.

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