Kitchener-Waterloo

Hot days ahead in Waterloo region, but many say they welcome it after cool, grey spring

Waterloo region will see the temperature rise to 32 C on Friday for a mini heat event. But an Environment Canada meteorologist says it's not abnormal to see such warm temperatures at this time of year.

'Who wouldn't enjoy this weather? It's perfect,' says Linda Anderson

Child wearing hat in splash pad reaching into small spurt of water
One-year-old Lily Wynne cools off in the splash pad in Kitchener's Victoria Park on Wednesday afternoon. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

The temperature has been on the rise in Waterloo region this week and Sam Defreites wants to be excited that the warm weather is here, but it also has her worried.

"I check the weather every single day and as soon as I saw the temperatures going above 23 C last week, I was like, this is horrible, this is not a good sign," Defreites told CBC News while walking in downtown Kitchener.

Climate change comes to her mind when the temperature warms up this quickly, making it feel like the middle of summer when it's still spring.

"Normally I would be excited for this kind of weather but I am genuinely terrified by what I'm seeing," Defreites said.

Jules Bong was walking with Defreites and said last month, the weather was so cold and grey, so the sunshine and warmth is welcome.

But he also recognizes "you need the right temperatures to grow food" and the current dry spell the region is experiencing isn't great for local farmers.

Man and woman holding hands walking away from camera walk down park path
Two people walk through a shady path in Kitchener's Victoria Park on Wednesday afternoon. The temperature Wednesday reached 29 C. It's going to warm up even more on Thursday and Friday in the region. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

This week, Waterloo region will see temperatures reach and surpass 30 C. This is "well above normal" for this time of year, weather preparedness meteorologist at Environment and Climate Change Canada Monica Vaswani says. Normally the high for this time of year are 22 C and the low is 10 C.

But, she noted, the region also saw warmer-than-normal temperatures last year at this time.

"These temperatures are more reminiscent of average highs that we would see in July often in the Kitchener-Waterloo area. But I still want to mention that it is not abnormal to see these sort of mini heat events occurring earlier in the season," she said.

Vaswani says the region can also expect generally dry conditions. 

"There's the odd chance we may get a brief shower here or there, but mostly we're dominated by a range of high pressure, so that's what's going to bring us predominant sunshine and the warmer temperatures," she said.

"Now once we start talking about the second week of June, we are expecting temperatures to recede back to near normal conditions, so that might be a little bit of a break for those who aren't so keen on the heat."

Vaswani says the heat becomes a concern when it doesn't cool off at night. But during the last week, temperatures have dipped into the teens, which has brought relief for many.

'I'm enjoying it'

Many of the people who stopped to speak to CBC K-W said they were enjoying the heat.

Grace Schuster loves the hot weather and says she's not worried about whether it being this warm at the end of May or early June is climate change.

"You can't do too much about the weather," she said.

Kiflue Marim said the hot temperatures are "good, very nice, I like it and I'm enjoying it" and added, "I like this weather better than the cooler" temperatures.

Linda Anderson asked: "Who wouldn't enjoy this weather? It's perfect."

She said to stay cool, she'll stay in shade, drink lots of water "go in the air conditioning if I absolutely have to. I'd rather not."

She says the way the climate is changing in Waterloo region and across Canada is cause for concern.

"There is definitely climate change and yes it frightens me. The dryness, the wildfires, the whole nine yards. We are paying the price now," she said. "When my grandchildren are adults, what's it going to look like?"

Forecast

Environment Canada's forecast for the next few days looks like this:

  • Thursday, mainly sunny with a high of 31 C.
  • Friday, a mix of sun and cloud with a high of 32 C.
  • Saturday, a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers, high 25 C.
  • Sunday, sunny with a high of 23 C.
  • Monday, a mix of sun and cloud with a chance of showers and a high of 23 C.

Places to cool down

The Region of Waterloo offers a space to cool down in its offices in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo during regular business hours.

Community centres, libraries and malls are also options where people can go if they're too hot.

  • The region has a complete list of cooling centres here.

Splash pads across the region are also open.

Little boy wearing hat smiling and reaching down to touch a spurt of water coming up
Keegan Duffenais, 6, plays in the water at the splash pad in Kitchener's Victoria Park Wednesday afternoon. (Kate Bueckert/CBC)

A heat warming is issued in the region when two consecutive days have a forecasted high of 31 C during the day and 20 C overnight. 

Region of Waterloo Public Health reminds people to find ways to stay cool and hydrated during hot weather and be aware of heat related illnesses such as heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

While everyone is at risk of heat illnesses, public health says those most at risk including:

  • Older adults.
  • Infants and young children.
  • People with chronic illnesses.
  • People who work or exercise in the heat.
  • People who are homeless.
  • People who live alone.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Kate Bueckert

Reporter/Editor

Kate has been covering issues in southern Ontario for more than 15 years. She currently works for CBC Kitchener-Waterloo. Email: kate.bueckert@cbc.ca

With files from Josette Lafleur, Ieva Lucs

now