On July 2nd, a portion of highway 3 near Windsor was closed after the road had buckled in the extreme heat (click here for the article). Reports at that time indicated that the temperature had reached 34C with a humidex of 43C. Environment Canada continues the heat warning proclaiming that this is the most significant heat event in the past few years.
Windsor is hot
I grew up in Windsor. I remember hot humid days. I remember begging our teacher to have class outside because we didn’t have air conditioning in our school. I remember unbearable nights before our home had air conditioning. And I remember the powerful storms that often signalled relief. Windsor is at the top of the list in Canada when it comes to heat and humidity. This has been the case for decades.
Is it getting hotter?
Climate change models indicate that the average global temperatures have been increasing since the onset of the industrial age with each year being hotter than the last. In fact, 2013-2017 is the hottest five year period on record and while, technically, the average temperatures for 2017 were not higher than 2016, they are the highest on record for a year without an El Nino current to influence the temperatures. See here for visual representations of this change.
In this article the National Collaboration Centre for Environmental Health suggests that by 2050 cities across Canada will experience four times the number of very hot days as compared to 2012.
How is it dangerous?
Complications from extreme heat can cause dehydration, dizziness, behaviour changes, headaches and more. At the extreme, one could suffer heat stroke which requires immediate medical attention as it can be deadly. Pets and other animals are also susceptible to the effects of extreme heat. It is important to be diligent in monitoring ourselves and those around us to make sure everyone is comfortable and safe.
What can we do?
Water is life in these conditions. Drinking plenty of cold water, a dip in a pool or cold bath or shower can be vital ways to help cool off. Where air conditioning is available, it is a ready source of escape from the heat. This means that as our children are off for summer, a large portion of their time will be spent indoors, at least until this heat breaks. Board games, puzzles, books, movies, video games, crafts and more can help pass the time at home. Trips to the library and other public venues can also provide access to cool environments that engage the mind.
What do you do?
We been through these conditions before. It’s Windsor. It gets hot in the summer. So, what are you doing to keep cool? What are the kids doing? How can this still be a meaningful time during this break?
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