Toronto

Heat warning in effect for Toronto as scorching, sticky summer weather returns

As city dwellers turned up the air conditioning and braced themselves for another hot and humid day, residents in Peel, York and Durham regions were being asked to cut back on water usage.

Calls to cut back water usage in Peel, York and Durham regions

Take a page out of this dog's book and cool off in a pool today. Temperatures are expected to feel close to 40 with the humidex.

As city dwellers turned up the air conditioning and braced themselves for another hot and humid day, residents in Peel, York and Durham regions were being asked to cut back on water usage.

Environment Canada issued a heat warning for Toronto and the rest of southern Ontario and Toronto's medical officer of health issued a city heat warning Tuesday morning. 

By 6 a.m. Tuesday, the mercury had hit 21 C in Toronto — and by mid-afternoon it felt like 37 C with the humidex. 

And, unfortunately, CBC Toronto meteorologist Jay Scotland said Wednesday will be just as uncomfortable.

"It will be very muggy tomorrow with highs in the 30 to 33 degrees [Celsius] range, feeling around, or even over, the 40 mark with the humidex," he said. Environment Canada forecasted a "30 per cent chance of showers Wednesday afternoon with he risk of a thunderstorm."

Under a blazing hot sky, Don Ford of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority issued a warning. 
Don Ford of the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority urged "large water users" to cut back on their usage and suggested watering gardens early in the morning or late in the evening. (CBC)

"Our rivers and ecosystems here in the GTA need that precipitation and need that stream flow to sustain those ecosystems," he told CBC News. "We can't make it rain, obviously, but what we can do is use less water to hopefully leave more water for those ecosystems."

Ford urged what he called "large water users" to cut back and suggested watering gardens early in the morning or late in the evening.

"When it's 32 in the middle of the day, not much of the water is going to make it into the ground," he explained. "By watering earlier or later in the day, that can have the same effectiveness but with less water."

He said that if the drought continues, "the water levels will continue to decline and if reaches the next level ... we'll turn around and ask for further reductions."

Laura Piazza, who works at the Vaughan Garden Centre, offered some conservation tips for gardeners. 
Laura Piazza, who works at the Vaughan Garden Centre, says perennials and tropical plants don't require alot of water. (CBC)

She suggested growing perennials and longer, tropical grasses.

Piazza said that while it's a bit tricky to maintain any greenery in this heat, "those plants don't require as much water."

Heat warning likely through Thursday

The hot and humid weather is supposed to stick around through Thursday with temperatures in the low 30s that will feel closer to 40 with the humidex. There likely won't be much relief from the heat before Friday, with overnight lows around 20 C.

The only break might come in the form of some active weather. There's a 40 to 60 per cent chance of showers or a thunderstorm on Wednesday and Thursday.

Environment Canada issues heat warnings when very high temperatures or humid conditions could lead to a greater risk of heat illnesses, such as heatstroke or heat exhaustion.

That risk is greatest for:

  • Older adults.
  • Infants and young children.
  • People with chronic illnesses, such as breathing difficulties.
  • People who work or exercise in the heat.
  • Homeless people.
  • Those without access to air conditioning.

Environment Canada urged Toronto residents to drink plenty of liquid – especially water – before feeling thirsty, which will decrease the risk of dehydration.

With files from Nicole Brockbank

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