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Death toll rises above 20 as heat wave continues to slam southern Quebec

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The heat-related death toll continues to rise across Quebec as Environment Canada issues a smog and heat warning for today.

As of early morning, Montérégie’s public health department reported two more deaths caused by the worst heat wave Quebec has seen in decades. Montreal’s health department has reported 12, and five have been reported in the Eastern Townships. 

One death in Laval and another in Mauricie brings the total number of heat-related deaths in the province up to 21, and more are expected.

Health officials have said the people who died didn’t have air conditioning in their homes and had health issues.

Humidex values will reach between 40 and 45 in the Montreal region today.

The heat wave began on June 29, but, one week later, relief is in the forecast. A high of 23 C is predicted for Friday and cooler temperatures will last through the weekend, into next week.

Environment Canada says the areas most affected by the heat wave include the Island of Montreal, Châteauguay/La Prairie, Laval, Longueuil and Varennes.

A smog warning is also in effect for those areas as, Environment Canada states, high concentrations of ozone are expected and will result in poor air quality.

“High concentrations of pollutants are expected to persist through tonight,” the agency says, noting smog is especially hard on asthmatic children and people with respiratory ailments or heart disease.

Across southern Quebec, public officials have been urging citizens to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses while, at the same time, keeping an eye on friends, family and neighbours.

In Montreal, the city’s fire and police departments visited 15,000 homes to check on residents throughout the week.

In a press conference Wednesday, Mayor Valérie Plante said she is counting on Montrealers to knock on doors “just to find out if the person is O.K. It’s a team effort.”

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