In recent weeks, Excessive Heat warnings have been a common occurrence across much of Canada. Like most other weather-related alerts in Canada, Heat warnings are issued by Environment and Climate Change Canada. But did you know that the conditions for Heat warnings vary by region?
Previously there was a single threshold for Heat warnings across most of Canada, but now Environment and Climate Change Canada defines criteria independently for 21 different regions, and takes into consideration several factors, including:
- The duration of the hot daytime temperatures
- Nighttime low temperatures
- Local factors such as humidity
For example, for Southwest British Columbia, including the greater Vancouver area and most of Vancouver Island, Heat warnings are issued when two or more consecutive days of daytime maximum temperatures are expected to reach 29°C or warmer and nighttime minimum temperatures are expected to remain 16°C or warmer.
Compare that with Essex and Chatham-Kent Counties, in the most southwest portion of Ontario, where Heat warnings can mean two or more consecutive days of humidex values of 42 or higher!
The system used today to alert the public of extreme heat has been developed by health officials studying the impact of deadly heat waves. And those impacts can be very grave – recently, health authorities have attributed the death of up to 70 people in Quebec to heat-related complications. In these extreme heat conditions, the elderly, sick or other vulnerable individuals are those at the greatest risk.
To protect yourself, your family and your neighbours when a Heat warning is issued, some general actions to take include:
- Consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day.
- Take frequent breaks from the heat, spending time indoors at cooled buildings (including malls or indoor pools).
- Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated.
- Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle, for any length of time.
And don’t forget to download the Alertable App for for iOS or Android so you can be informed as soon as Heat warnings are issued for your area, and find further instructions specific to your region in the Safety Instructions that come along with the alert.
What are other tips we could talk about? Leave a comment below and let us know.
Read more on the Disaster Series:
Take care. Be prepared.
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