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Heavy thunderstorms expected to bring extreme heat to Barrie, cottage country

Environment Canada says there is potential for heavy thunderstorms today followed by an extreme heat event which is expected to persist through the long weekend. File / Global News

Environment Canada has issued an extreme heat event warning for the Canada Day long weekend.

The environmental agency says there is potential for heavy thunderstorms Wednesday followed by an extreme heat event which is expected to persist through the long weekend.

Environment Canada says this will likely be the most significant heat wave of the season thus far.

According to the agency, scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms in the forecast Wednesday will give way to a persistent southwest airflow, bringing hot and humid air from the Gulf of Mexico to southern Ontario.

Environment Canada says beginning Friday or Saturday and continuing through the Canada Day long weekend, expected daytime highs in the Barrie area will be in the low to mid-30s with humidex values into the mid-40s.

Overnight low temperatures are expected to fall to only the low 20s, providing little or no relief from the extreme heat.

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According to YKL Weather, a Twitter account that tracks Barrie weather statistics from Environment Canada, Saturday is expected to be the 10th hottest day in June on record, at 33 C. The hottest temperature recorded in Barrie in June was in 1994, when temperatures were recorded at a scorching 35 C.

READ MORE: Southern Ontario will be sweltering over Canada Day weekend

Those looking to escape to cottage country for the long weekend will encounter similar temperatures. Environment Canada has also issued an extreme heat event warning for the Bracebridge, Gravenhurst, Huntsville and Parry Sound areas.

Global News Chief Meteorologist Anthony Farnell, says lakes and rivers in the area are still chilly, but that won’t matter with the extremely hot and humid forecast.

Environment Canada says it’s unclear when the heat event will end, however, they believe high temperatures could last until the middle of next week.

The agency is urging people to monitor themselves and loved ones for symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion. This includes very young and very old people, who may be more susceptible to extreme heat. Symptoms of heat stroke and heat exhaustion include a high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness.

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With hundreds of people expected in downtown Barrie for Canada Day festivities, the city of Barrie issued its own advisory on Thursday morning, encouraging people who plan to participate in long-weekend events to remain “cool and safe.”

The statement reminds the public to stay hydrated, rest frequently in shaded areas and dress in cool, loose clothing including a hat or umbrella for shade.

The advisory also urges residents to never leave infants, children or pets in parked cars and to check regularly on family, friends or neighbours who are at a higher risk of heat-related illnesses or who do not have air conditioning.

While public activities set for Canada Day are scheduled to proceed as planned, the city says residents should plan to attend the festivities during cooler parts of the day.

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