MLHU issues first heat alert of 2021 as region braces for potential record-breaking weather

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The Middlesex-London Health Unit has issued its first heat alert of the year with forecasts calling for potentially record-breaking temperatures Friday ahead of an equally warm May long weekend.

According to the health unit, the heat alert is only in effect for Friday as Environment Canada is calling for an afternoon high of 31 C, surpassing the heat alert threshold. Factoring in the humidity, it will feel more like 34 C. Overnight, the low will fall only to 18 C.

It remains to be seen whether Friday’s high will eclipse the May 21 record set in 1941 at 31.7 C.

“Although the heat alert is only in effect for one day, the rest of the long weekend is expected to have temperatures just below the health unit’s benchmark, prompting a reminder to residents to be sun smart and beat the heat all weekend long,” the health unit said in a release.

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Environment Canada is calling for a warm and humid long weekend. A high of 29 C is expected on Saturday, feeling more like 34 C, while highs of 25 C and 23 C are expected on Sunday and Monday, respectively.

All three days are expected to bring cloudy conditions with a 30 to 40 per cent chance of showers, according to the national weather service’s forecast issued late Friday morning.

Read more: COVID-19: Here’s what outdoor amenities can reopen in Ontario on Saturday

In a statement, Randy Walker, the health unit’s public health inspector, noted that while the warm weather may make it tempting to engage in outdoor summer activities, “it’s important to remember that we’re still under a stay-at-home order so be conscious of the risk of COVID-19 when enjoying the weather.”

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He says residents should also remember to stay hydrated, use sunscreen, keep cool with loose-fitting, light clothing, and avoid overexerting themselves with outdoor activity.

More information about heat-related illness can be found on the health unit’s website.

Friday’s sweltering high comes after several hotter-than-normal days in southwestern Ontario. London recorded a high of 29.4 C on Thursday, 26.6 on Wednesday, and 25.4 on Tuesday.

The average high for this time of the year is 20 C, according to Environment Canada.

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