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Hot summer about to get hotter


Heat continues to rise across much of Canada
Heat continues to rise across much of Canada

Staff writers

July 17, 2012 — Love it or hate it, the hot weather is here to stay. That means there's a greater chance to see more severe weather this summer.

Take cover when lightning strikes. Photo courtesty: Stephen Hancock
Take cover when lightning strikes. Photo courtesty: Stephen Hancock

From Alberta right through to the Maritimes, forecasters say that long range models are indicating warmer than normal conditions for the rest of July and August.

As the heat increases, so does the chance for severe weather.

On Sunday, a severe storm moved through southern Ontario and lightning struck at Whitby's Ribfest. 17 people were sent to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.

Geoff Coulson, a warning preparedness meteorologist at Environment Canada says, while storms like this can be dangerous, they're common during the summer months.

"Thunderstorms are no stranger to the month of July," he says, adding that it's important to plan emergency measures in advance, and know where to take shelter.

A car with an all-metal roof is a good idea; a tent isn't, Coulson says. He also advises staying in a sheltered area for 30 minutes after the last rumble of thunder is heard.

The U.S. typically sees about 1,000 tornadoes each year, Canada about 80
The U.S. typically sees about 1,000 tornadoes each year, Canada about 80

"The Whitby Ribfest is just a really good wake-up call for everyone to have that healthy respect for mother nature, pay more attention to their surroundings, listen to the updated forecast and be ready to find that shelter," Coulson says.

He adds that this is typically a busy time for severe weather in both Canada and the U.S.

"We fully understand that at this time of year every Canadian wants to get out and enjoy the beautiful weather at things like Ribfest, concerts, camping, and hiking, but it's important, both in extreme situations like thunderstorms and in high heat, to take health and safety into account."

Coulson says it's too early to tell at this point whether the warmer weather will stretch into the winter.

With files from The Canadian Press

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