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The National Capital Region and Montreal, Que., may be in for poorer air quality to begin the work week, with hazy skies that could span all the way into the Greater Toronto Area. An incoming cold front will change the wind direction, pushing wildfire smoke from northern Quebec to southern areas of both provinces through Monday afternoon.
The front could also feature much-needed rain in Quebec and Ontario, but it comes with a risk for additional lightning activity that could spark new wildfires.
Lightning risk in Ontario and Quebec
Local states of emergency and thousands of evacuations persist as hundreds of wildfires rage on in Quebec. On Thursday, 100 new fires were started as a result of lightning. Once again, worries grow that Monday may feature another moisture-starved cold front.
Helpful rains will be quite spotty from thunderstorms popping up along the front in the afternoon and evening. The activity could nose into the Ontario border with Ottawa included in the mostly non-severe threat.
Locally heavy downpours and gusty winds are possible hazards. Because much of Ontario and Quebec remain in an extreme-fire danger rating, additional lightning-induced blazes are a concern.
Quebec wildfires and smoke
The front will also shift the winds, forcing smoky and hazy skies south. By Monday afternoon, the haze could stretch hundreds of kilometres into the GTA. but closer cities such as Montreal and Ottawa may experience poorer-than-normal air quality.
There is an additional chance for another wave of smoky skies to enter the aforementioned regions Tuesday, as cooler air continues to funnel in from the north.
The air quality for Ottawa could possibly be record-bad. At points during the day Tuesday, it may sufficiently be thick enough to obstruct a significant portion of the sunlight. Even on Monday, that smoke will disperse to the ground level throughout the GTA. It may even be potent enough to locally smell like a campfire.
Smog warnings and special air quality statements span a good portion of northern Ontario and Quebec. Residents should keep updated with special air quality statements and limit time outdoors if necessary.
Relief is coming
In the longer range, Quebec may benefit from the same rainy system that has aided Nova Scotia's fire-relief efforts.
A slow-moving low over the Maritimes brought widespread showers through the weekend. It begins retrograding by Tuesday, moving backwards towards Quebec's Gaspe Peninsula. Models indicate the St. Lawrence River and the northeastern shorelines may see shower activity though the day.
The Sept-Îles region, where a local state of emergency was declared, could hopefully benefit by mid-week.
Cooler, more seasonal temperatures are also in store for much of Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada as the low deepens and remains in place for the second week of June.
With files from Rachel Modestino, a meteorologist at The Weather Network, and Nathan Howes, a digital journalist at The Weather Network.
Thumbnail courtesy of Mark Newman/The Image Bank/Getty Images.
Stay tuned to The Weather Network for the latest forecast updates for Ontario and Quebec.