TORONTO -- As Canadians emerge from their homes following months spent largely indoors, summer has kicked up a notch in Central Canada to meet them, with a blistering heat wave that is set to continue through the weekend.

Environment and Climate Change Canada has announced heat warnings for southern Manitoba and the vast majority of Ontario, alerting the public that temperatures could stay above 30 degrees for longer than seven days.

“These are the lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer in Central Canada,” David Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News.

It’s not unusual for Canada to see some heat in the summer, but this is “a little bit early,” according to Phillips. 

“Normally the dog days of summer don’t come for another month,” he said.

“What we’re seeing over the next seven days is just a continuation of this very warm, humid kind of condition. Not just one or two days but seven days to 10 days in a row with temperatures that are 30 degrees or above, nights that are very warm, and that’s often very unhealthy, of course. And high humidity -- as the crops are beginning to grow, we put more moisture into the air.”

A heat warning for Toronto specifies that overnight temperatures will be at least 20 degrees for the next few days -- a sticky situation for anyone without air conditioning.

While central Canada cooks, Western Canada is being faced with rainfall and thunderstorm weather statements, particularly in northern Alberta and B.C.

“This is a big country,” Phillips said. “But I think what’s sort of unusual [is] it’s extreme.

“Edmonton has just finished 10 days in a row with wet weather, they’ve had twice the amount of precipitation they normally would see. We’re seeing no forest fires, really … in British Columbia, Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan. But here in the central part of the country, from Manitoba through northern-central-southern Ontario and western Quebec, we’re into another heat bout.”

He said that in Toronto, “this time last year, we had no days above 30.

“We’ve already had 11, and humid days too.”

The heat poses a problem for those who want to cool off while following health guidelines for the pandemic.

“It’s just unprecedented times,” Phillips said. “Often by this time, you can have a list of do’s and don’ts with regards to the heat and humidity, but it’s different now because of the circumstances we’re in.”

Because the spring was relatively mild, he said, “we weren’t necessarily seduced into going outside.”

But he says he’s seen more people drawn to the beach as temperatures rise.

“The other thing is the water temperatures are beginning to warm up,” he pointed out. “I notice people are not just … stepping their toes in the water, they’re actually getting into it.”

He said it’s important to keep health guidelines in mind.

“It’s more difficult to practice physical distancing, and we just have to be mindful of that," he said. “The authorities are doing what they can to encourage people to do that, but individuals have to take a certain responsibility.

“We can enjoy the dog days of summer, the beer-drinking kind of weather, without putting ourselves at risk.”

Anyone going outside during the heat wave should also be careful of the dangers extreme heat can bring. Environment Canada states in their heat warnings that “extreme heat affects everyone,” but that “the risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.”

The symptoms of illness related to heat include dizziness, nausea, rapid breathing and extreme thirst.

In Toronto, where temperatures are anticipated to potentially reach 35 degrees Thursday and on the weekend, the city has opened 15 emergency cooling centres in response to the heat.