Oppressive heat poses health risk in Atlantic Canada, could topple records

Extreme temperatures are making their way to Atlantic Canada this week as a heat dome brings dangerous, excessive heat and humidity to the region.

The same period of intense heat that is blanketing Central Canada will hit the East Coast shortly, and may get humid enough to break some records in many areas.

RELATED: Environment Canada says it can rapidly link high-heat events to climate change

Check several times a day on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water. Never leave people, particularly children, or pets inside a parked vehicle.

Heat exhaustion and stroke symptoms
Heat exhaustion and stroke symptoms

Atlantic Canada will see the prolonged stretch of hot and humid weather begin on Tuesday, with daytime highs and humidex values similar to its Ontario and Quebec counterparts. Many June, and even some all-time, humidex records on the East Coast will be in peril.

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Air sinks beneath a strong ridge, warming up as it descends toward the surface. Hot, muggy winds blowing straight from the Gulf of Mexico will add tropical humidity to the mix.

Record-breaking humidex values are possible across the Maritimes, on Wednesday for New Brunswick and on Thursday for Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island.

June humidex records Atlantic Canada_June 17
June humidex records Atlantic Canada_June 17

June humidex records being challenged:

  • Fredericton: 43.5 (June 17, 1994)

  • Moncton: 40.6 (June 28, 1969)

  • Halifax: 40.2 (June 25, 2005)

  • Charlottetown: 39.7 (June 24, 1975)

Temperatures are expected to be in the low-to-mid 30s but the humidex values will make it feel closer to the low-to-mid 40s. Very little relief will be felt overnight as temperatures will only dip into the low 20s.

Temperatures will also be quite high in Newfoundland, with central and northern areas reaching the 30-degree mark and humidex values just hitting 40. St. John’s, N.L., has a forecast of 27°C for Thursday.

Thursday feels-like, temperatures and icons in Atlantic Canada_June 17
Thursday feels-like, temperatures and icons in Atlantic Canada_June 17

Some of the warmest June nights on record are being challenged, as well, including several locales in New Brunswick (Bathurst, Fredericton and Woodstock), Nova Scotia (Halifax and Greenwood), P.E.I. (Charlottetown) and Newfoundland (Gander).

As we continue to move in the direction of a warming world, extreme heat events like these are expected to increase in frequency.

Watch out for heat-related impacts, such as heat exhaustion and/or heat stroke. Remember to drink plenty of water. Avoid strenuous work outdoors.

Heat dome - the chain reaction
Heat dome - the chain reaction

The heat and humidity will also fuel daily thunderstorm risks, so people will need to be weather-aware.

Looking ahead, the heat dome and the humidity could potentially break Friday and bring cooler temperatures through the weekend.

WATCH: How living in a heat dome can impact your body

Click here to view the video

Increased potential for heat-related illnesses

Extreme heat is a leading weather-related cause of death around the world, claiming more lives every year than tornadoes and hurricanes combined. Hot temperatures are truly a silent killer.

Folks who are highly susceptible to the heat include those in homes without air conditioning, elderly people, unhoused people, outdoor workers, those living with chronic health conditions, and folks taking certain medications.

Explainer: Confidence in attribution of different extreme heat events
Explainer: Confidence in attribution of different extreme heat events

Check on vulnerable friends, family, and neighbours over this week. Stay alert for the signs of heat-related illnesses.

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Heat exhaustion occurs when a person’s body temperature climbs too high and they struggle to cool off. Symptoms of heat exhaustion include dizziness, excessive sweating, and weakness. Developing heat exhaustion is a serious sign that your body is in distress and you need to find a way to cool off immediately.

Heat stroke is a life-threatening medical emergency that occurs when a person’s body temperature is so high that their vital systems begin to shut down.

WATCH: Here's how fast your car can heat up this summer

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Stay tuned to The Weather Network for more updates on the heat wave across Atlantic Canada.