Deadly heat wave expected to break Friday

A heat warning remains in effect for the National Capital Region Thursday, but forecasters say relief is coming.

It’s been a week of sometimes record-breaking temperatures in the Capital. From a humidex record of 47 on Canada Day, to high-temperature records on Monday and Wednesday at the Ottawa Airport, there has been no end of difficulty for those who struggle in the heat.

In Quebec, health authorities say at least 18 deaths can be attributed to the heat wave, which is gripping much of eastern North America. The majority of the heat-related deaths were in Montreal.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has tweeted his sympathies to the families of the victims.

My thoughts are with the loved ones of those who have died in Quebec during this heat wave. The record temperatures are expected to continue in central & eastern Canada, so make sure you know how to protect yourself & your family:

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 4, 2018

Dr. David Kaiser, physician-manager at Montreal's public health authority, tells The Canadian Press the Montreal heat exposure victims were between 50 and 80 years old.

Ottawa Public Health could not confirm whether anyone had died as a result of the heat in the Capital.

But, in a statement to CTV News, spokesperson Donna Casey says there have been over 100 heat-related calls since the start of the heat wave last Friday.

“From Ottawa Paramedic Services, since the start of the heat wave, there have been more than 100 calls for heat-related illnesses, with half of these on Canada Day,” Casey says. “OPH is in close contact with other community agencies such as the Salvation Army to ensure there is outreach to vulnerable populations such as homeless people.”

Casey says deaths as they occur are not reported to OPH.

“OPH has access to death data from the Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care however the data is not recent – the current data OPH has access to is between three to four years old.”

As of 5:00 a.m. Thursday, the forecast from Environment Canada included a heat warning for Ottawa. A high of 35°C with a humidex of 44 was expected Thursday. The record high temperature at the airport for July 5 is 34.2°C, set in 2010.

Friday’s forecast high is 22°C.

For those who still love the heat, higher than average temperatures are set to return soon. The average high for this time of year is around 26°C. The current forecast calls for highs around 30°C next week.

With files from The Canadian Press and CTV Ottawa.