'First heat event of season' brings summer weather to city

Toronto's "first heat event of the season" is drawing people to the sandy beaches of Lake Ontario.

Toronto under special weather statement as mercury climbs, but heat unlikely record-breaking

People lie in the sun on Woodbine Beach in Toronto's east end on Monday as the city remains under a special weather statement. ( Natalie Kalata/CBC)

Toronto remains under a special weather statement on Monday as the temperature continues its climb into the low thirties.

The city's "first heat event of the season" is drawing people to the sandy beaches of Lake Ontario.

As the hot weather continues, residents are urged to take care of themselves and keep an eye out for people and pets left in hot cars.

Monday's high is forecast to be 32 C, with a humidex of 37. The overnight low is expected to be 19 C.

A warm, humid air mass has moved over Southern Ontario, Environment Canada said Monday afternoon. The air mass is responsible for the heat and humidity in Toronto, parts of southwestern Ontario and the Golden Horseshoe area that is expected to extend into Monday night, the agency said. 
It's going to be a hot, hot day and Toronto residents are urged to take care of themselves as the mercury climbs. (CBC)

"These conditions pose a health risk when you are not used to the heat," Environment Canada said in its statement. "Everyone is at risk from heat, especially older adults, infants and young children, and people with chronic illnesses."

Monday 'most humid day of the week'

However, the agency doesn't expect any records to be broken on Monday, said Gerald Cheng, a meteorologist with Environment Canada in Toronto. May 28's high temperature record of 32.5 C was set in Toronto in 1987.

"Today will be the most humid day of the week," he added.

As the work week progresses, temperatures are expected to return to more seasonal levels, he said. The seasonal high for this time of year is 22 C, while the seasonal low is 12 C. Temperatures are expected to fall on Tuesday with daytime highs forecast to remain below 30 C.

Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police's Highway Safety Division says it's important to remember that heat can be 'deadly.' (Tony Smyth/CBC)

As for motorists, Sgt. Kerry Schmidt, spokesperson for the Ontario Provincial Police's Highway Safety Division says it's important to remember that heat can be "deadly." 

Schmidt is urging drivers not to leave children or pets in hot cars.

If someone sees an adult, child or pet in a unattended vehicle and in distress, he said that person should call 911 immediately and get into the vehicle.

"If that involves having to break a window, that may be what you need to do to save a life," he said.

'No hot cars, that's the bottom line'

Parking in the shade or leaving a window open a crack doesn't make much of a difference because the temperature in a vehicle will still climb quickly on a hot day, Schmidt said.

"No hot cars, that's the bottom line," he said. 

A boy, believed to be three years old, died on May 23rd in Burlington, Ont. after he was apparently left in an overheated car.

Police said an autopsy the following day found that the preliminary cause of death was hyperthermia, a finding "consistent with the child being left in a vehicle and exposed to high temperatures for an extended period of time."

No charges have been laid in the death. 

City says stay cool with 'simple measures'

To beat the heat, Toronto Public Health is urging residents to go to swimming pools, beaches and air-conditioned malls.

Dr. Eileen de Villa, the city's medical officer of health, said in a news release that there are "simple measures" that residents can follow to keep cool. They include:

  • Drinking lots of water even before you feel thirsty. 
  • Taking cool showers or baths or use cool, wet towels. 
  • Wearing loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing, and when outdoors, wearing a wide-brimmed hat.
  • Avoiding the sun and staying in the shade or using an umbrella. 
  • Planning or rescheduling outdoor activities to take place during cooler times. 
A man jogs with his dog on the boardwalk at Woodbine Beach on Monday morning. ( Ousama Farag/CBC )

De Villa said a heat warning will be declared when a daytime high temperature is forecast to be greater than or equal to 31 C, along with an overnight low of greater than or equal to 20 C, for two days in a row, and the humidex is greater than 40 for two consecutive days.

​The city will open its seven cooling centres when a heat warning is declared. These centres provide air-conditioned places for people to rest indoors and receive cool drinks and light snacks. 

She explained that extreme heat can cause preventable illnesses, from heat stress to heat stroke, and can worsen pre-existing conditions, including chronic cardiovascular and respiratory disorders.

Those most affected by extreme heat include infants, young children, socially isolated seniors, the homeless, people who have chronic illnesses, limited mobility or who are suffering from mental health issues, and people in apartment buildings without air conditioning, she said.