'Good Timing': Waterparks now open as heat warnings issued for Southwestern Ontario

Southwestern Ontario is under a heat warning with temperatures expected between 31 and 34  C through Tuesday.

Humidex values are near 40 during the day, with overnight low temperatures forecast to fall to only 21 to 23 C, providing little relief from the heat.

"It is very moist, and it's a very high humidex, and that's why we have heat warnings out for the southwestern part of the province," says Dave Phillips, senior climatologist with Environment Canada.

In London, the perfect way to beat the heat was a run down the 'Bullet' waterslide at East Park.

"Getting out of the house is amazing, and going down the slides is so much fun," says Brianna MacDonald, who was visiting the park Sunday.

Amusement and water parks were allowed to open at 25 per cent capacity in Stage 2 of the province's re-opening plan.

Brianna MacDonald rides the 'Bullet' at East Park in London, Ont., Sunday, July 4, 2021. (Brent Lale / CTV News)

"We're thrilled to be open, and it was a long haul and it was a lot of work to get here, but here we are and we're thrilled to be able to welcome people," says Alon Shatil, general manager and coowner of East Park.

"This gives them a great way to safely cool off this summer in this wonderful waterpark."

With this heat, the park will be in high demand. Shatil recommends booking tickets in advance so people aren't turned away.

"They told us at the gate that they are at 25 person capacity, and we were lucky today that we've pre-purchased the tickets," says Nader Salam, a Londoner who was enjoying the park with his kids.

"With it this hot we need the water park and thankfully we have the province starting to open this summer."

Kids beat the heat Sunday, July 4, 2021 at the East Park Splash Pad in London, Ont. (Brent Lale / CTV News)

Phillips feels people should be used to the heat by now, after June was two degrees warmer than normal. He also says the dog days of summer are still ahead at the end of the month.

"We think the summer will be warmer than normal," he says. "But I don't think it will be as warm as it was last year. Last year in Windsor we had 39 days where the temperature got above above 30 and in the London area there were 21 of those hot days where you typically would get more like 10 or 12. So we I don't think it'd be extremely hot as it was last year, but clearly will be warmer."

The Middlesex-London Health Unit had issued a two-day heat alert for Sunday and Monday as temperatures soared, and it was extended through Tuesday as the forecast was revised to be even hotter.

Randy Walker, public health inspector with the health unit, said in a statement, “If you are planning to spend time outside in these temperatures it is important to plan ahead and take the necessary precautions to protect against the heat.”

People should wear sunscreen, dress in light clothing, wear a hat, drink lots of water and take frequent breaks, he added, and check on neighbours, friends and family.

Phillips feels from an agriculture perspective the province is in good shape.

"We were very fortunate to see, in the last week of June, we got some rain because we were clearly into a drought situation in southwestern Ontario," says Phillips.

"Farmers and gardeners were getting worried, but we ended up with more precipitation than normal last month. You can almost see that corn growing inches per per day, and I think that is because of that wonderful rains we got and now with the heat coming on. The farmers would always like a little bit more rain, and if we could keep it going at two or three o'clock in the morning, it would make farmers happy, and also golfers."

A cold front is expected to bring showers and thunderstorms Tuesday evening bringing an end to the heat and humidity.

The Hamilton Road Seniors' Community Centre will be open as a cooling centre tomorrow, Monday, July 5, from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m.

More info: https://t.co/DcCLMlF3hI

If you’re spending time outdoors, be sure to take breaks from the heat and stay hydrated. #LdnOnt https://t.co/hv2i6MFU3q

— City of London (@CityofLdnOnt) July 4, 2021