Sweltering heat puts Atlantic Canada records in jeopardy amid health concerns

A potent high pressure ridge over the eastern U.S. and the Great Lakes is sending temperatures into the 30s and pushing humidex values passed the 40s across large portions of the East Coast this week

Extreme temperatures have made their way to Atlantic Canada as a heat dome brings dangerous, excessive heat and humidity to the region.

The same period of intense heat that is blanketing Central Canada has just begun to impact the East Coast, and it may get humid enough to break some records in many areas.

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Check several times a day on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water. Never leave people, particularly children, or pets inside a parked vehicle.

Heat exhaustion and stroke symptoms

Atlantic Canada will see the prolonged stretch of hot and humid weather expand on Wednesday, with daytime highs and humidex values similar to its Ontario and Quebec counterparts. Many June, and even some all-time, humidex records on the East Coast will be in peril.

Also similar to its neighbours to the west, there will be a thunderstorm risk in parts of Atlantic Canada on Wednesday.

This week: Mercury climbs in Atlantic Canada as hot air pushes in

Air sinks beneath a strong ridge, warming up as it descends toward the surface. Hot, muggy winds blowing straight from the Gulf of Mexico will add tropical humidity to the mix.

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Record-breaking humidex values are possible across the Maritimes, on Wednesday for New Brunswick and on Thursday for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

June humidex records Atlantic Canada_June 17

June humidex records being challenged:

  • Fredericton: 43.5 (June 17, 1994)

  • Moncton: 40.6 (June 28, 1969)

  • Halifax: 40.2 (June 25, 2005)

  • Charlottetown: 39.7 (June 24, 1975)

Temperatures are expected to be in the low-to-mid 30s but the humidex values will make it feel closer to the low-to-mid 40s. Very little relief will be felt overnight as temperatures will stay in the low- or mid-20s.

Temperatures will also be quite high in Newfoundland, with central and northern areas reaching the 30-degree mark and humidex values just hitting 40. St. John’s, N.L., has a forecast of 27°C for Thursday.

Wednesday humidex values in Atlantic Canada_June 18

Some of the warmest June nights on record are being challenged, as well, including several locales in New Brunswick (Bathurst, Fredericton and Woodstock), Nova Scotia (Halifax and Greenwood), P.E.I. (Charlottetown) and Newfoundland (Gander).

The heat and humidity will also fuel daily thunderstorm risks, so people will need to be weather-aware.

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There is the chance for thunderstorms to develop in central New Brunswick on Wednesday. If any storm does develop, it could become quite strong, producing large hail and strong wind gusts.

Maritimes storm risk map Wednesday_June 18

As we continue to move in the direction of a warming world, extreme heat events like these are expected to increase in frequency.

Watch out for heat-related impacts, such as heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Remember to drink plenty of water. Avoid strenuous work outdoors.

Looking ahead, some relief from the heat dome and the humidity is expected Friday as a cold front brings slightly cooler air.

Heat dome - the chain reaction

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Increased potential for heat-related illnesses

Extreme heat is a leading weather-related cause of death around the world, claiming more lives every year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Hot temperatures are truly a silent killer.

Folks who are highly susceptible to the heat include those in homes without air conditioning, elderly people, unhoused people, outdoor workers, those living with chronic health conditions, and folks taking certain medications.

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Explainer: Confidence in attribution of different extreme heat events

Check on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbours over this week. Stay alert for the signs of heat-related illnesses.

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Heat exhaustion occurs when a person’s body temperature climbs too high and they struggle to cool off. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, excessive sweating, and weakness. Developing heat exhaustion is a serious sign that your body is in distress and you need to find a way to cool off immediately.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when a person’s body temperature is so high that their vital systems begin to shut down.

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Stay tuned to The Weather Network for more updates on the heat wave across Atlantic Canada.