IT'S A RECORD - Humidex High In Carman

No place in Canada has ever been as hot and humid as Carman was yesterday, at least since Environment Canada started keeping records more than 125 years ago.

The humidex reading topped out at a whopping 53 C yesterday, breaking the all-time Canadian humidex record of 52.1 C set in Windsor, Ont., in 1953.

The humidex is a Canadian invention that measures how the combination of heat and humidity feel to your body.

"I can't imagine it getting any hotter here, that's for certain," Mike Gottfred, head professional at Carman Golf Course, told Sun Media yesterday afternoon.

 Handfuls of golfers cancelled their tee times in the wake of blistering temperatures, but Gottfred said many groups -- including a cluster of 70-to-80-year-old men from The Wildewood Club in Winnipeg -- still showed up and were kept as hydrated as possible on the sweaty, steamy course.

Ice cream and slushies were the high-rollers at Buddy's Drive Inn, an outdoor burger joint where owner Connie Rose said business didn't slow down at all as temperatures skyrocketed.

Customers entered Buddy's "looking very hot and looking for relief," then got their food and ate it in their air conditioned cars, Rose said.

"Almost everyone is complaining about the heat," she said. "But I told them in six months they'd be paying to go somewhere this hot. Now it's free."

DANGEROUS

A humidex reading taken about 3:30 p.m. yesterday at Richardson International Airport registered 48 C, breaking Winnipeg's all-time record of 46.1 C set in 1996.

Roy McGuckin, owner of Thunder Rapids Outdoor Amusements, said heat like that is as dangerous -- both to customers and his business -- as thunderstorms and heavy winds.

He said sales are down about 40-50% because of heat, while his staff are trying to stay hydrated and out of the sun when business "dips right down" in the afternoon because of high humidity.

"We're getting Southern Ontario-like humidity and even surpassing what Southern Ontario gets," said Dave Carlsen, a warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada.

As a result of the high humidity, a freak storm rolled through the city around dinner time, bringing with it heavy wind and rain, hail and thunder.

Reports of downed trees and power lines flooded emergency responders for about an hour, but the sun was shining again by 7 p.m. and no serious damage was reported.

The humidex reading was only first used in 1965, but Carlsen said Environment Canada can calculate it going back through its archived records, which it began keeping in the 1870s.

Although the actual temperature reached 35 C in Winnipeg yesterday, today's forecasted high is only 27 C, which is still higher than normal.

"We're going to lose the extreme heat and oppressive humidity, at least for a couple of days," said Carlsen, noting that combination could return by the weekend.

WINNIPEG SUN - for story
By PAUL TURENNE AND JULIE HORBAL, SUN MEDIA
July 26, 2007