Montrealers took to the streets and parks on Sunday to take advantage of the exceptional heat, a historic record for May 28, as the province prepares to host its first heat wave of the summer this week.
There were several hundred of them enjoying the coolness of the river at Verdun’s urban beach, a scene similar to that of other large city parks.
“It’s super pleasant and very surprising to see such a difference in temperature in so few days,” exclaimed Gaëlle Hermans, a Belgian of origin who came to enjoy the beach with two friends.
“It could be a little bigger,” she adds with a smile, a remark shared with another neighborhood resident, Marie-Lucie Roy, who took advantage of the sun to walk her dog on Sunday.
“There is a good wind today which makes us still comfortable”, commented the one who has already suffered the pangs of heat after spending the winter in Sri Lanka, where the temperature regularly approached 40 degrees.
Montrealers invade the parks
A broken record, a heat wave to come
If the thermometer is still far from reaching this point at this time of the year in Montreal, a historic temperature record was however broken on Sunday. Indeed, the mercury rose to 31.2℃ in Dorval in the afternoon, which narrowly beat the mark of 31℃ set on May 28, 1978.
The thermometer is expected to drop back towards seasonal normals for the day on Monday, around 23 or 24 ℃ in Montreal, due to a mass of cold air coming from northern Quebec. But it will only be a short respite.
What we are watching right now is really a hot weather streak from Tuesday to next Friday, so three or four days where the maximum temperatures will stay around 30 ℃. It would potentially be a first heat wave in the province.
Amélie Bertrand, meteorologist at Environment Canada
The sectors most affected by this heat wave should be Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Laurentides, Lanaudière, Outaouais, Montreal, Mauricie, Capitale-Nationale, Estrie and Beauce.
Less “overwhelming” heat
This first heat wave will be special, however, because “it will not be accompanied by a lot of humidity,” says Ms.me Bertrand. “These are temperatures ranging from 30 to 32 ℃, but in Humidex value, it will be 32-34,” she explains. It’s still a dry heat wave, so to speak. In other words, it won’t necessarily be overwhelming, even if the sun is going to be very present. »
She explains the situation by the fact that an anticyclone is “stationary over southern Ontario and New England next week”, raises the meteorologist. “There will also be very little wind. The air will be dry, but with the accumulation of several days under the same conditions, we will still reach fairly high temperatures, ”notes the specialist.
Environment Canada also advises the public to avoid exposing themselves too long to the sun this week, and to drink plenty of water when this is the case.
After a cloudier and grayer spring, the coming week will therefore be very different from recent times. One issue remains, however, points out Amélie Bertrand. “The problem we have is that there hasn’t been much rain recently and there is no precipitation in sight. It can become problematic if there is no humidity and it remains dry, when you know that the fire indices are high at the moment. »
Note: such a temperature is quite rare in May, but not unprecedented. Last year, a very wet heat wave was recorded from May 12 to 14. A derechoa rare weather phenomenon that had not occurred since 1999, then caused severe thunderstorms, strong winds and extensive property damage in late May.
“It’s not unheard of, but it doesn’t happen every year either. It sometimes happens that some summers, we see two days in a row at 30 ℃, but without having the three consecutive days which give a heat wave”, concludes Mme Bertrand.
Ban on open fires
However, the hot weather of the last few days has not only had advantages, as evidenced by a series of bans on open fires in or near the forest decreed by Quebec on Sunday. Nord-du-Québec, Côte-Nord, Saguenay–Lac-Saint-Jean, Abitibi-Témiscamingue, Mauricie, Capitale-Nationale, Bas-Saint-Laurent, Outaouais, Laurentides, Lanaudière , Chaudière-Appalaches, Montérégie and Gaspésie are thus affected in whole or in part. Currently, 10 fires are active in Quebec. Since the start of the protection season, 173 fires have affected 246 hectares of forest.