Thunder Bay Declares Extreme Heat Warning

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Thunder Bay – NEWS – The City of Thunder Bay is declaring a heat advisory.

The City of Thunder Bay is issuing an extreme heat warning alert to the community as part of the COVID-19 Severe Weather Response Plan. Environment Canada has indicated a dome of intense heat will move into Northwestern Ontario today with temperatures expected to climb to the low- to mid- thirties, and humidex values near 40°C are expected over the weekend. Overnight lows will be in the upper teens, providing little relief from the heat. This extreme heat is expected to last through the weekend and possibly into Monday for some areas.

The City asks residents to check in with vulnerable friends, neighbours, and family to ensure they are not experiencing any difficulties related to the extreme heat. Anyone at risk should be encouraged to remain in a cool place and drink plenty of water. Populations at greater risk include: infants and children, elderly, people with chronic conditions (i.e. heart diseases, respiratory diseases, or asthma), outdoor workers, sports enthusiasts, and people lacking proper shelter, clothing or food.

Due to the increased risks for individuals experiencing homelessness, the City is reminding the public that shelter services are available. These include two 24-hour emergency shelters – Salvation Army, 545 Cumberland Street N., and Shelter House, 420 George Street. Local outreach workers have bus tickets available for those who may need to travel to shelters. Shelters will also relax service restrictions and continue to allow individuals to remain inside.

Sun burn and heat exhaustion are not uncommon during the summer and periods of prolonged heat.  In extreme cases, heat stroke may occur. It is essential to also consider COVID-19 prevention measures such as wearing a face mask and ensuring 2 metres physical distance from others.

If you see someone on the street who needs outreach assistance due to the high temperatures, call SOS at 620-7678. For medical emergencies, call 911.

Residents can take precautions to prevent heat related-injury by:

  • drinking more water more frequently in hot weather to prevent dehydration;
  • reducing exposure to the direct sun and heat by finding shade or cool indoor spaces;
  • wearing loose, light-coloured, breathable clothing and a wide-brimmed hat;
  • avoiding intense or moderately intense physical activity, especially during the hottest part of the day;
  • taking cool showers or baths or using cool wet towels to cool down;
  • when working outdoors, taking regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.

It is also advised never to leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle and to watch for the symptoms of heat illness: dizziness/fainting; nausea/vomiting; rapid breathing and heartbeat; extreme thirst; decreased urination with unusually dark urine. More information and tips to staying cool during severe weather can be found at www.thunderbay.ca/severeweather

Severe Weather Response Plan

Under the Thunder Bay Municipal Emergency Response to COVID-19, the previous Cold Weather Plan introduced in January, 2021, has now been expanded to the Severe Weather Response Plan. This Plan puts a particular focus on preventing direct impacts of both cold and heat exposure on people experiencing homelessness or precarious housing.

The Environment Canada Weather Alert has triggered the City’s Severe Weather Response Plan moving it to activation level 2. At this level an alert is issues to the community and response partners.

The Severe Weather Response Plan will supplement external partners’ plans, and guide coordinated responses at various activation levels. It provides a framework for implementing and coordinating both cold and heat exposure preparedness and response activities.

The Plan’s main objectives are to:

  • Alert those most vulnerable to severe weather forecasted and advise of appropriate precautions to take;
  • Enable those most vulnerable to take appropriate precautions; and to
  • Outline stages of response with pre-determined thresholds, for action by agencies who are in a position to provide or alter services and operations to protect the vulnerable population.

The partners have been collaborating to address related concerns, including access to drinking water, shade, cooling locations, and personal sun protection.

“We are pleased to continue this important work with community partners who provide services to the local vulnerable population,” said Cynthia Olsen, Acting Director – Corporate Strategic Services. “The COVID-19 pandemic continues to create barriers to access services to mitigate the impact of severe heat during the summer season. The pandemic has limited access to formal facilities such as shelters and informal locations such as libraries, malls, and vestibules that are typically available during severe weather events for vulnerable populations.”

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