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We’re havin’ a heat wave, a tropical heat wave

A heat wave has enveloped most of central Canada and residents of Woolwich and Wellesley Townships are in the middle of it.

Environment Canada defines a heat wave as three or more consecutive days in which the temperature is 32 degrees Celsius or more.

As of July 22 parts of Saskatchewan to the Maritimes will have seen seven days where the mercury reached over 32 degrees.

The blistering temperatures are due to a weather system occurring in Texas that’s raising temperatures as it pushes north.

The hot, humid weather is part of a large dome of air that is covering central North America.

“We are in the middle of the dog days of summer,” said David Phillips Environment Canada senior climatologist. “We are going to peak on Thursday (July 21) with the temperature reaching 36 degrees and the weekend will see a drop of four or five degrees, still leaving residents in the region with temperatures above 30 degrees.”

With the humidex, the temperature may have felt like the 40s in many places across Ontario.

TAKE SHELTER John Goudy takes his wife Eleanor, who keeps out of the sun using an umbrella, for a walk in St. Jacobs. The current heat wave can be dangerous for the elderly, who are advised to stay indoors.

Phillips reminds people that heat, humidity and smog can have the potential to cause serious health issues especially to infants and the elderly.

“An infant does not have the sweat glands of an adult and should be watched closely during a heat wave,” said Phillips. “Seniors with poor circulation should also be watched as well as members of the community with mental health issues as this heat can be very disorienting.”

Phillips advises  people to limit their exposure to heat, drink lots of water, find a cool space and seek medical attention if they become dizzy or short of breath.

“We just have to use common sense. This isn’t the first heat wave of the summer: we had a few hot days back in June, and everyone should be conditioned to the weather,” said Phillips. “Everyone should just take it easy, put off doing any strenuous chores and avoid big meals and drinking caffeine-related liquids.”

The human body can lose up to a litre of water an hour during severe heat conditions, he noted.

Phillips said many people are suffering from heat rage and may have a short fuse during extended heat waves; he encourages everyone to be respectfully of one another and give each other space.

Parents looking for relief for their children can now visit the Wellesley splash park, which opened on July 15. The park operates from 10 a.m. until 8 p.m. daily.

The official opening will be in mid-August when the parks fence and concrete pathways have been completed.

“It’s a great place to your kids, we are seeing a lot of smiling faces and both kids and parents are having a good time at the park,” said Jennifer Kay-Summer, the splash park coordinator and local veterinarian.

Pets are vulnerable too,  she added of the heat wave. She suggests that owners give pets plenty of water and shade while the heat lasts.

“Do not take your pets out in the car right now, especially if you are going to the store. Even with the windows rolled down a pet can suffer from heat stroke,” said Kays-Summer. “If that happens, take them to your vet as soon as possible.”

For more information about protecting against the heat conditions visit Health Canada’s website at www. hc-sc.gc.ca.

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