Heat wave death toll reaches 18 in Quebec

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Canada Day crowds in the capital will face the challenge of keeping hydrated in temperatures that are forecast to peak at 36 C, with a humidex of 47 and a UV index of 10, or "very high".

A new heat warning system is now in place to warn Nova Scotians when hot and humid weather has the potential to be harmful.

The mercury has regularly topped 30 degrees since Friday in southern Quebec, accompanied by stifling humidity levels. Temperatures in Montreal reached 93 degrees Fahrenheit Wednesday, and are expected to stay the same Thursday.

Premier Philippe Couillard praised the work of public health officials.

The heat wave will finally come to an end on Thursday night but the reprieve from sweltering conditions may be short-lived, according to a senior climatologist with Environment Canada. The city has extended its pool hours and opened its seven cooling centres, which provide air-conditioned spaces and cold drinks.

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"Usually when we get heat events it only lasts two or four days", Ms. Hobelman said.

He said the Montreal heat exposure victims were between 50 and 80.

The heat wave has hit the Atlantic provinces too.

Six more people have died in Montreal's heatwave, bringing to 12 the city's total death toll from the extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada, health officials said on Wednesday.

In Toronto and Ottawa, temperatures have remained well above 30 C since Friday. "And also keep in mind to make sure you don't leave any people or pets in your auto, as temperatures will rise dramatically within minutes". The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

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