'Heat Dome' seals in sweltering temperatures
CTV News.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, July 20, 2011 9:34PM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 19, 2012 5:25AM EDT
The hot, stagnant air that has Canadians sweltering across the country from Prince Edward Island to Alberta isn't going anywhere for a while.
In fact, it's going to get worse before it gets better. The temperature in Toronto is expected to reach 38 degrees Celsius Thursday. The record for Canada's largest city is 40.6 C, set in 1936.
In Windsor, Ont., the temperature is expected to hover around 39 C Thursday.
Municipalities across Ontario have issued various heat alerts, allowing city cooling centres to operate.
In Toronto, the medical officer of health upgraded the heat alert to an extreme heat alert, extending the hours at some city pools.
Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips said the hot high-pressure system that is currently sitting over large swaths of the country is expected to eventually settle in the east.
Phillips said the "heat dome" which doesn't allow cooler or wetter weather to breach the heat is expected to push temperatures even higher as the week rolls on.
Muggy temperatures will persist until Friday and into the upcoming weekend for most of southern and eastern Ontario, with the mercury predicted to reach the low to mid 30s.
In Montreal, temperatures are expected to peak at 32 C on Wednesday and 33 C on Thursday.
In Winnipeg, the unrelenting heat hit record-highs on Tuesday, with temperatures hitting 34 C and the humidex making it feel like 43 C.
Next door in Saskatchewan, Regina roasted at 31.9 C.
But it could be worse. In 1937, the Canadian record was set at 45 C in Midale and Yellow Grass, Sask.
Across Manitoba as well as Saskatchewan and Alberta, new power consumption records were set as many residents opted to crank up their air conditioners.
Bill Carney of the Regina Qu'Appelle Health Region said it felt like more than 40 C on Tuesday, after the humidex was factored in. However, he said there appeared to be no increases in emergency room visits due to heat-related incidents.
On Monday, the Alberta Electric System Operator said 9,552 megawatts of power were consumed at 3 p.m. local time as the province roasted in temperatures as high as 37 C. The new peak eclipsed the old summer record of 9,541 set in August 2008.
Environment Canada defines a heat wave as three or more consecutive days in which the temperature is 32 C or more.
The deadliest heat wave in Canadian history was recorded on July 5-17, 1936 when temperatures exceeded 44 C in Manitoba and Ontario. According to Environment Canada, 1,180 Canadians died including approximately 400 who drowned seeking refuge from the heat.
Environment Canada says the blistering temperatures are due to a weather system in the United States that's raising temperatures as it pushes north.
However, the long-term forecast for Canada in August predicts average temperatures.
South of the border, the daily high in Oklahoma for the past 29 days has been at least 38 C.
Heat advisories and warning are in place for more than a dozen states, from Texas to Michigan.
U.S. officials say there have been at least 13 deaths across the country as result of the persisting heat.