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Heat warning issued for southern Ontario on first official day of fall

CN tower in Toronto skyline seen from Lake Ontario.
CN tower in Toronto skyline seen from Lake Ontario. Roberto Machado Noa / File / Getty Images

A heat warning has been issued for much of southern Ontario as temperatures are expected to feel more like 40°C over the weekend.

Environment Canada’s alert includes Toronto, York-Durham, Halton-Peel and Hamilton regions.

Heat warning

Maximum humidex values are forecast to approach 40°C on both Saturday and Sunday, with the unseasonably warm temperatures expected to persist into early next week.

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Meteorologist Geoff Coulson told AM640 it’s unusual to have a heat warning for this time of year.

“We can see a few days towards the end of September and early October when we do get temperatures into the high 20s, maybe around the 30-degree mark,” he said.

“But to put together this many days where we’re getting temperatures well above normal, perhaps record-breaking, one day after the other, is certainly something we don’t see very often.”

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Health risks

Environment Canada is warning the extreme heat affects everyone, although the risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

“Really good idea to not do too many strenuous things during the heat of the day, between about noon and 4 p.m.,” Coulson advised.

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People should seek shelter in cooler places such as shaded areas or air-conditioned buildings.

Heat warnings are issued when very high temperatures or humidity conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion.

The average high for this time of year is 19.7°C  with the highest temperature recorded in 1974 of 31.7°C.

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Services offered

In Toronto, the unusually warm and humid start to the fall has prompted the City of Toronto to keep the majority of its splash pads open all weekend.

People are encouraged to cool off in air-conditioned places such as shopping malls, local libraries and community centres.

READ MORE: Splash pads in Toronto will remain open all weekend due to hot weather

In Hamilton, residents are being advised that the city and other local agencies will offer “cool places” that can be identified by a “Cool Down Here” sign at the entrance, along with a heat meter sign indicating the heat response stage.

All Hamilton public swim and indoor pools will be open free of charge, and the Salvation Army will distribute water to those in need.

 

Fall forecast

Environment Canada said residents should enjoy the warmer temperatures while they’re still around.

A return to more seasonal temperatures is expected as we head into the month of October.

“Overall, we’re expecting October to be a little warmer than normal,” Coulson said. “As we get further into October, those normal daytime highs are going to start to fall.”

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READ MORE: Fall weather forecast 2017: What Canadians can expect in the months ahead

Toronto’s temperature high currently sits around the 19°C mark for mid-September, although those temperatures are expected to be more like 13°C or 14°C in October and will fall even more towards the end of the month.

The official start to the fall season began on Friday.