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What is a 'heat dome' and how does it really work?

Thursday, July 18th 2019, 4:49 pm - Much of eastern Canada is being cooked in a cauldron of heat.

You might have heard the term 'heat dome' this week in relation to the searing heat that has slowly been ramping up in parts of eastern Canada, but what exactly is it?

In a nutshell, 'heat dome' is a popular term for when a strong ridge of high pressure sets up over part of North America, making for stagnant conditions that allow heat and humidity to build up over the course of a few days.

We say 'popular' in this case, because 'heat dome' isn't a defined meteorological term, though the ridge of high pressure it describes is a well-documented and observed weather phenomenon that occurs in other contexts as well.

"That makes it hard to say for certain what is and isn't a heat dome," Weather Network meteorologist Michael Carter says. "But what is certain is that we are expecting dangerous conditions to develop across eastern Canada in the coming days, with severe heat and brutal humidity. Heat and humidity of this magnitude can have severe negative consequences on your health, especially with prolonged exposure."

For a more detailed explanation of how a heat dome works, watch Kelly Sonnenburg's explanation in the video above.

WATCH BELOW: HEAT WAVE 'SURVIVOR KIT': ESSENTIAL PACKING DURING HEAT WARNINGS

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