Soaring temperatures, humid conditions prompt heat warning for most of Manitoba

After a soggy start to the summer, a large swath of Manitoba is now under a heat wave, baking under blistering temperatures that aren’t expected to break until late Friday.  

Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for nearly all of Manitoba, including Winnipeg, where sunny and hazy conditions are forecast for the remainder of the week.

The temperature will peak in the city at 32 C on Thursday, but the humidex will make it feel as warm as 40, Environment Canada said.

The temperature will drop only as low as 23 C Thursday night, bringing little relief overnight before pushing back up to 32 C on Friday, the weather agency forecast.

To help Winnipeg residents beat the heat this week, leisure centres and library branches in Winnipeg can be used as cooling spaces, with access to drinking water during regular operating hours.

The city’s indoor pools and outdoor spray pads are also open, and six community centres are opening their doors during certain hours as heat relief sites, the city said. 

Winnipeg has also expanded its network of hydration stations, with eight stations in the downtown core and inner city, up from three last year. Access to free, clean drinking water through hydration stations started as part of a pilot project in 2022.

A list of library branches, leisure centres, water stations and cooling spaces can be found on the city’s website

The city is also advising residents to be mindful of sun exposure, reminding people to stay in the shade and keep hydrated to avoid heat exhaustion and strokes.

CommUnity 204, a non-for-profit organization that works with people experiencing homelessness in the city, is distributing water to make sure those who are unhoused stay hydrated during the heat wave.

Community co-ordinator Alexis Tachnak is asking Winnipegers to also check on the most vulnerable throughout the summer months.

“It’s extremely important,” she said. “You want to treat them just like you would your own family, your own children.” 

Environment Canada said a slight reprieve is expected to begin into the weekend, as the warm air drifts southward, but temperatures throughout next week in Winnipeg are still expected to remain above seasonal.

Air quality statements in north

The heat warning also covers a large area in northern Manitoba, stretching from The Pas and Flin Flon areas in the west to the Island Lake area in the east.

The weather agency warns of extreme daytime temperatures and warm overnight lows in the north, with Thursday’s temperature forecast to peak at 30 C before cooling to 16 C overnight.

The sweltering heat is forecast to ease by the end of the week in the north as well.

The province also reminded Manitobans to take precautions in the heat, as exposure to prolonged periods of high heat and humidity can escalate into heat-related illnesses.

In a news release Wednesday, it recommended checking in regularly with vulnerable or isolated friends and family who might be at risk, adding older adults, people with underlying health conditions and those living alone in urban areas without air conditioning are at a greater risk. 

Smoke drifting from wildfires in Alberta, B.C. and the Northwest Territories is also bringing hazy conditions to parts of northern Manitoba Wednesday. Environment Canada has issued special air quality statements for Brochet, Lynn Lake and Flin Flon.

A turn in the winds is expected to hold the smoke into the weekend, clearing in scattered periods on Thursday and Friday, the weather agency said.