Not quite record heat sends dozens to hospital

Sunday was a very hot day, not just in Montreal, but in many parts of Quebec and Canada.

Here in Montreal temperatures hit their highest between 5:00 P.M. and 6:00 P.M. Sunday, when the mercury (without the humidex) reached 33.4°C. Factor in the humidity and it felt above 45°C.

While that may break all the recent daytime highs, you have to go back almost 90 years, to 1931 when temperatures hit 36°C, according to Environment Canada.

The high heat kept Urgences-Santé very busy Sunday.

A spokesperson said as of 11:45 P.M. ambulance technicians had responded to at least 29 calls in Montreal and Laval for people directly affected by the heat (heat stroke/exhaustion). That number spikes, to a point where a total couldn't be given, when factoring in calls responding to patients with trouble breathing or heart problems indirectly linked to the scorching temperatures.

Urgences-Santé officials are preparing for more as daytime highs in Montreal are only getting hotter as the week rolls on.

The warm and humid air mass that has anchored over Southern Quebec will cause daytime temperatures to hover in the low to mid-thirties, with humidex values well into the forties, until late Friday. If you were hoping for some relief overnight, don't hold your breath as overnight lows will drop to the mid to low twenties, however humidex values will keep things feeling close to 40.

A heat warning is in effect for the Montreal and surrounding area.

In order to keep yourself from being the next patient helped by Urgences-Santé, the Ministère de la Santé et des Services sociaux du Québec, in cooperation with Environment and Climate Change Canada, are recommending Quebecers protect themselves from the potentially dangerous heat.

Some of the tips include:

  • Drink 6 to 8 glasses of water per day. Follow your physician's instructions regarding the amount of fluid to drink;
  • Avoid alcoholic beverages;
  • Spend at least 2 hours a day in air conditioned or cool places;
  • Take at least one shower or cool bath per day, or cool your skin several times per day with wet towels;
  • Limit physical activities;
  • Wear light clothes.

"During times of high heat, your health or your families and neighbour's health could deteriorate rapidly," read Environment Canada's heat warning.

With temperatures so high you should never leave a child, baby or pet alone in a vehicle or a closed room, even for a few minutes.

In Gatineau Sunday, with the humidex temperatures hit 47°C, breaking the city's previous high of an even 47°C.

Those same temperatures meant considerably fewer people turning out to enjoy Canada Day celebrations in Ottawa, with about 6,000 turning up, down from the 25,000 estimated last year.

The Ottawa Paramedic Service Tweeted that as of 7:30 P.M. they had attended to 88 patients at various Canada Day events across the city for heat-related illnesses.

If you need something to keep you mentally cool during this heatwave, know that as of Monday, there are 172 days until winter.