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Extreme heat, humidity flows back into southern Ontario


The sun sets in Mississauga on Tuesday (courtesy: Don McKechnie)
The sun sets in Mississauga on Tuesday (courtesy: Don McKechnie)

Staff writers

July 14, 2012 — After a brief reprieve from high humidity and sweltering conditions, residents in southern Ontario can expect temperatures topping the 30 degree mark once again.

Public is advised to monitor future forecasts as warnings may be required or extended in some areas.
Public is advised to monitor future forecasts as warnings may be required or extended in some areas.

It's been a hot summer to say the least and after a brief break from the stifling conditions, residents in southern Ontario are getting ready to sweat it out again.

The current long range forecast shows the city of Toronto hitting 30 degrees or higher over the next several days. Factor in the humidity and it could be feeling closer to 40 at times. 

As a result, Toronto's medical officer of health issued a heat alert Thursday morning. The alert was upgraded to an extreme heat alert Friday, which means public cooling centres will be available across the city.

Residents are encouraged to check on family members who may be at a greater risk of heat related illnesses and avoid any strenuous physical activity outdoors.

The heat this summer has smashed several daily records, but Toronto managed to break a yearly one as well.

"July 2011 to June 2012 was the city's hottest 12-month period in recorded history," says Rob Davis, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

Rainfall so far this month
Rainfall so far this month

It's also been significantly dry. In the Toronto area alone, less than three millimetres of rain has fallen so far this month, and the average rainfall total for July is 74.4 mm.

The dry ground is taking a toll on plants and gardens across the region.

"You couldn't give me enough rain right now," says Sandra Pella, head gardener at Toronto Botanical Gardens. "I would take a week's worth everyday straight. I know people don't want it to rain, but they need to be aware that our vegetables, our fruiting trees, crops, plants, gardens are suffering."

Pella adds that if you've planted new gardens or crops, you'll have to water them everyday while conditions remain so dry.

"The ground needs a good soaking and it encourages good root growth."

On Saturday afternoon, Environment Canada issued smog advisories stretching from the Halton-Peel region to Peterborough-Kawartha Lakes. The poor air quality is expected to diminish Sunday.

Humidex levels will likely climb in most regions over the next couple of days, with temperatures well into the thirties and humidex readings in the low to mid forties. 

TORONTO COOLING CENTRES

The following cooling centres will be open in the City of Toronto between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m. for the duration of the Extreme Heat Alert: 

  • Centennial Recreation Centre: 1967 Ellesmere Road 
  • Driftwood Community Centre: 4401 Jane Street  
  • East York Civic Centre: 850 Coxwell Avenue
  • Etobicoke Olympium: 590 Rathburn Road
  • McGregor Community Centre: 2231 Lawrence Avenue East
  • Metro Hall: 55 John Street *NOTE: this Cooling Centre is open 24 hours.
  • North York Civic Centre: 5100 Yonge Street 

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