Unprecedented October heatwave hits Toronto after 72 years

A person enjoys the hot weather at Trinity Bellwoods Park, in Toronto, 2016. The Canadian Press
A person enjoys the hot weather at Trinity Bellwoods Park, in Toronto, 2016. The Canadian Press 

Toronto, Canada’s largest city, has experienced a remarkable weather event, breaking a temperature record that stood for more than seven decades. 

The unseasonable warmth sweeping through the city has caught the attention of both residents and meteorologists, marking a significant moment in the region’s climate history.

On Wednesday, Toronto unofficially shattered a temperature record for the second consecutive day. 

The last time temperatures soared to this level on October 4 was a staggering 72 years ago. 

While Environment Canada has not yet officially confirmed the record-breaking day, readings reached 27.5 degrees Celsius at Toronto Pearson International Airport, surpassing the previous high of 27.2 degrees Celsius recorded in 1951.

This unusual warmth follows another exceptional day when Toronto reached a high of 29 degrees Celsius, breaking the previous record for October 3 set in 2001. 

These temperature readings are among the hottest ever recorded in October. To put it into perspective, the hottest October day on record occurred in 2019 when temperatures reached 31.8 degrees Celsius.

Meteorologist Chris Potter from CP24 commented, “It all has to come to an end, unfortunately. It was inevitable. We all knew it was just a matter of time. It will be gradual at first but very noticeable as we get into the weekend and then early next week.” 

As the heatwave subsides, Torontonians can expect fall temperatures to return, just in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

But it’s not just Toronto that’s experiencing this exceptional heat. Across Eastern Canada, including Quebec and adjacent provinces, the past three days have seen a series of heat records tumble. Montreal, for instance, witnessed the mercury climb to 29.3 degrees Celsius on Wednesday, surpassing the previous record set in 2005.

While some residents and tourists have welcomed this unexpected extension of summer, concerns are mounting about the implications of such heatwaves. 

Meteorologist Chris Potter from CP24 noted that cooler weather is expected to return gradually, marking a significant shift from the recent warmth just in time for Thanksgiving weekend.

However, the lingering concern is that these heatwaves could become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. As global temperatures continue to rise, the recent record-breaking warmth in Eastern Canada serves as a local example of the broader climate challenges faced by regions worldwide.

The situation in Eastern Canada underscores the urgency of climate action to mitigate the impact of extreme weather events and highlights the pressing need to address the underlying causes of a changing climate. 

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