Heat, severe thunderstorms, air quality advisories envelop province

Heat, severe thunderstorms, air quality advisories envelop province

This may not be the best day to go outside.

Smoke from New Brunswick and Quebec forest fires has drifted over the entire province, prompting an air quality advisory.

Much of the province is also under a heat warning.

And as of Tuesday afternoon, the entire province is under a severe thunderstorm watch.

An air quality statement from Environment Canada said smoke from forest fires in northern New Brunswick and Quebec has increased the level of pollutants in the air.

The weather agency has issued heat warnings for everywhere but Restigouche, Madawaska and Victoria counties, and the Mount Carleton — Renous Highway region.

Temperatures could reach 33 C.

The heat is coming from a warm and humid air mass expected to remain over much of New Brunswick on Tuesday.

The air-quality statement and Level 1 heat warnings recommend that outdoor workers take scheduled breaks in a cool place and check local weather forecasts and alerts to know when to take extra care.

Relief on the horizon

Conditions are expected to improve in the afternoon and evening, when a cold front passes through, brining slightly cooler and drier air.

However, that cold front is also bringing along thundershowers.

The advisory said some areas may see strong gusts, possibly reaching warning levels of 90 km/h.

"There may also be heavy downpours locally, possibly exceeding warning levels of 25 mm per hour," the advisory said.

Environment Canada said strong wind gusts can toss around loose objects, damage weak buildings, break branches off trees and overturn large vehicles.

"Intense lightning is likely with any thunderstorm that develops. Heavy downpours can cause flash floods and water pooling on roads."

Severe thunderstorm watches are issued when there is a possibility of a thunderstorm that could produce large hail, damaging winds, torrential rainfall.

And what about Chris?

Tropical storm Chris is on many people's radars since the City of Fredericton sent out an advisory this week asking people to prepare.

But as of Tuesday morning, the storm was not on track to have a significant impact on New Brunswick. Chris is  expected to stay south of Nova Scotia according to meteorologist Jim Abraham.

"I expect some surf to increase on Thursday and Friday on the Atlantic coast of Nova Scotia," Abraham said. "New Brunswick should be far away enough form the storm that there shouldn't be any clouds associated with it."

Wayne Tallon, director of corporate strategy and safety services with Fredericton, said people should keep looking at the forecast and remain informed.

They should also have a 72-hour kit, with water, non-perishable foods, battery-powered radio and flashlight, extra medications and prescriptions, he said.

"We just want folks just to be prepared to be hopefully resilient," said Tallon.

Tropic storm Arthur, which brought down trees and power lines in New Brunswick in 2014, followed the same path as Chris before it veered into New Brunswick. Chris is not expected to touch New Brunswick or other Maritime provinces.

Forest fires

There are currently three New Brunswick forest fires being patrolled, the largest measuring five hectares near Fredericton. One in the Miramichi area is 0.1 hectare.

Another fire in Miramichi and one in Edmundston have been contained.

New Brunswick firefighters are among those called in from across Canada to help battle 60 fires burning in Quebec. The fires have been blamed on a combination of dry, hot weather and lightning strikes.

The entire province of New Brunswick is under a no-burn advisory.