A meteorologist says after what has been a relatively cool start to the summer in southern Manitoba, things are about to take an abrupt turn. Scott Kehler with Weatherlogics says a heat wave is headed our way.

According to Kehler, a large ridge in the jet stream is developing right now across western Canada. He notes that when the jet stream gets deflected to the north, it allows a lot of warm air to flow up, out of the United States, and to the Prairies. 

"That's going to bring some of the hottest weather we've seen all year and a real blast of summer for the first time so far in 2024," notes Kehler.

He says it is quite likely that Steinbach and area will experience at least a couple of days this week where temperatures will be right around the 30 degree Celsius mark. 

"Maybe even a day or two over 30 degrees," he adds.

According to Environment Canada, Steinbach has reached 30 degrees only one time so far in 2024. That happened back on May 11th, when the temperature officially hit 30.1 degrees. In an average year we get nine of those. Last year we had 11 days of at least 30 degrees by the end of June. 

Kehler says that because this is the first heat wave of the year for us, many people might not be acclimatized just yet. However, he points out that this will not be a heat wave that is unusual for Manitoba. 

"We get this type of weather almost every year," he says. "But because it's happening so abruptly now, after what's been a relatively cool start to the summer, that does catch people off guard. So just be ready to make sure you've got a way to cool down, stay hydrated and just stay safe during this hot weather."

Kehler says one thing to keep in mind with this heat, is that it will also be pretty humid. He explains that is because of all the rain we have received this year, which is now either sitting on the ground or is down in the soil. 

"Once we get this hot weather, the sunlight is going to cause plants to grow really quickly and pull that moisture out of the ground or evaporate the water from the surface," he says. "And so, it's probably going to be a pretty humid period of weather too."

As a result, Kehler says we can expect a risk of thunderstorms on many days during this heat wave. He points out however, that some days it will simply be too hot for thunderstorms.

"If the atmosphere gets too warm, that doesn't allow air to rise up to the atmosphere, because you want to see warm air near the ground and cooler air up higher in the atmosphere," he explains. "But if we have warm air throughout, then that can kind of suppress thunderstorm activity."

Kehler says he anticipates especially later in the week, as we see a potential pattern change, and possibly a cold front coming through, that this could spark severe weather. 

Kehler says the heat will build as the week goes on. By mid-week, he anticipates temperatures will be mostly in the upper 20s or low 30s. He notes that there are signs that by the latter part of the weekend or early next week, there could be a cold front moving through, which would see temperatures dip. However, Kehler says even then, the heat will not be far away, and we could see alternating hotter days and cooler days as different weather systems move through. 

This heat wave will be centred mostly in the Prairies, though Kehler says BC might sit on the western edge.