After scattered storms struck the region on Wednesday, a severe thunderstorm watch is once again in place for London and Middlesex County ahead of a new batch of possible thunderstorms on Thursday.
A heat warning from Environment Canada and extended heat warning from the Middlesex-London Health Unit both remain in effect.
Thursday’s severe thunderstorm watch is in place for much of southern Ontario, with Environment Canada stating that “conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms” that could lead to “strong wind gusts, large hail and heavy rain.” Isolated areas could see more than 50 millimetres of rain within an hour, according to the national weather agency.
The forecast is also warning of the risk of thunderstorms on Friday and of the possibility of rain throughout the weekend and into Monday.
The wet weather comes after a hot start to the month in London, with each day so far in July seeing a high of at least 30 C. The daily high isn’t expected to fall below 30 C until Saturday, when the forecast calls for a high of 28 C.
Before that happens, it’s possible new high-temperature records could be set on Thursday and Friday. The current high-temperature records for July 9 and 10 are 35.5 C and 33.2 C, respectively, both of which were set in 1988.
While the heat continues to rage, the City of London has opened a new cooling centre at the Hamilton Road Seniors’ Centre and Community Centre at 525 Hamilton Road. The city says the centre is open between 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will provide water in addition to a space to cool off. Pandemic-related physical distancing and other health guidelines will be followed and other amenities within the centre will not be offered, the city says.
The previous cooling centre, at the South London Community Centre, is now closed “to prepare for upcoming summer day camps.”
The city is also continuing to partner with local organizations to help provide additional relief for those in need. The organizations include the Salvation Army Centre of Hope, London Cares, the Youth Action Centre, Atlohsa, the Ark, My Sisters’ Place, and the YMCA Centre Branch.
Water fountains are also operational in Victoria, Gibbons, Springbank West and Pump House parks as well as the Springbank House. There are also numerous spray pads, wading pools and local pools available.
The wet weather is welcome news for the region’s farmers. Rick Howe, one of the owners of the Howe Family Farm Market in Aylmer, Ont., told Global News earlier this week that the farm is likely spending an extra $10,000 to $20,000 this year to fuel irrigation due to the extended heat.
Michael Watson, owner of Front Step Farm in Maple, Ont., said on Tuesday that his entire stock of beets, onions, squash, potatoes and fruits will either die or won’t reach their potential in size if this heat continues.
Agriculture Canada agroclimate specialist Trevor Hadwen said farmers east of the GTA are dealing with an even worse situation.
“Southern regions are dry but they’ve received some moisture in the last couple of weeks that the eastern region didn’t receive,” he added, saying if dry conditions continue, “we’re going to start losing some of the yield that we would get off those crops later in the season.”
— with files from Global News’ Kelly Wang and Kamil Karamali.