Environment, News, Science

Ontario, Quebec Experiencing Heat Wave

Image: Environment Canada
Image: Environment Canada

It’s hot outside. But just how hot? It’s “heat-wave” hot.

That’s according to Environment Canada, the official source for weather information in Canada, particularly for severe weather watches and warnings.

A heat wave is when the temperature outside reaches 32-degrees Celsius or higher for three or more days in a row.

Southern Ontario and Quebec are experiencing temperatures in the mid-30s. With the high humidity the provinces are also experiencing, the temperature outside feels more like 42 degrees.

Humidity is the amount of water vapour in the air. When it’s very humid out, sweating—the body’s way of cooling us down—doesn’t work as well because sweat doesn’t evaporate from the skin as well. That can make us feel even hotter.

One of the reasons for the heat wave is that during the winter months Lake Ontario and the land surrounding it didn’t get as cold as in past years.

Lake Ontario’s temperature affects the Canadian provinces and American states closest to it. When the huge lake is warmer than normal, land temperatures are warmer, too.

When it’s very hot out, health officials recommend that people stay in the shade or indoors, with air conditioning if possible. People also need to drink more water than usual and limit the amount of physical activity they do outside.

People who have problems with their breathing (for instance, people with asthma) and elderly people are particularly affected by very hot temperatures. Many cities take special measures to help homeless people get into cooler air during heat waves.

Geoff Coulson is a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

He told TeachingKidsNews that children need to be aware of how hot it is when they’re playing outdoors, and make sure they take steps to keep cool. “It can be very easy for kids who may not be monitoring themselves very closely,” to become overheated, he said. “All of us need to be aware. If you’re outside, find the shade, a breeze and stay hydrated.”

He said kids should not only watch themselves for signs of heat exhaustion (for instance, headaches or nausea) but they should watch for signs in other people including children and older adults who may be having trouble.

He said the hottest time of the day is 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. In a heat wave, said Coulson, people should limit their outdoor activity “during those peak hours of heat and humidity.”

The heat wave in Ontario and Quebec is expected to last until sometime Friday afternoon or evening, when temperatures and the humidity will drop.

Related link:

Weather information and severe weather warning information is available free of charge 24/7 to Canadians at weatheroffice.gc.ca.

By Jonathan Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Extreme heat can be very dangerous. For this reason, many people use air conditioning to stay cool. What environmentally friendly alternatives do you do to stay cool during heat waves.

Reading Prompt: Analysing Texts
How do quotes add to your understanding of today’s article? How would the text be different if it did not include quotes.

Identify specific elements of texts and explain how they contribute to the
meaning of the texts (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse texts and explain how various elements in them contribute to meaning (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Analyse a variety of texts, both simple and complex, and explain how the different elements in them contribute to meaning and influence the reader’s
reaction (OME, Reading: 1.7).

Grammar Feature: Affect
The word affect is often confused with the word effect. But there’s a big difference between the two. The best way to get them straight is knowing that affect is an action word (verb), while effect is a thing (noun). The examples below show how writers use the verb “affect,”

Lake Ontario’s temperature affects the Canadian provinces and American states closest to it.”

“People who have problems with their breathing (for instance, people with asthma) and elderly people are particularly affected by very hot temperatures.”

The effect, on the other hand, is a noun meaning the end result. For example,

“The effect of the experiment is that she gained superhuman strength.”

“The effectiveness of the medicine is unclear.”

I had a teacher who told me something that helps me out when I’m confused, we Affect the Effect.

Fill in the blanks using affect or effect in the spaces below.

1. She thought his speech ____________________ the listeners.
2. The loud audience ________________ his concentration.
3. The team of researchers are studying the ___________ of extreme weather on primates.
4. The volcano doesn’t really seem to _______________ the everyday lives of the villagers.
5. It’s hard to say what the ______________ of the new rules will be.