Quebec Heat Wave Kills 33

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Environment Canada lifted heat warnings Friday, despite expectations that temperatures will once again rise early next week.

The death toll in Quebec due to the heat wave has increased since yesterday's reported number.

Deaths linked to a heat wave in Canada's Quebec province has almost doubled to 33 from the last count, health officials said on Thursday, as extreme weather conditions that have gripped central and eastern Canada reached their peak.

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Montreal health officials said there have been 12 heat-related deaths since the weekend, while authorities in the Eastern Townships region east of Montreal are attributing another five deaths to the weather.

Numerous victims were men over the age of 50 living alone in private apartments and seniors' residences, according to David Kaiser of Montreal's public health department.

Dr. Mylene Drouin, the regional director of Montreal's public health department, said ambulance services reported receiving more than 1,200 calls overall in Montreal on Wednesday. "Obviously when we get there and the person may have passed, they're very rarely already with family".

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Officials urged residents to keep themselves hydrated and remain in the shade, while Montreal opened pools and air conditioned spaces to the public.

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

In 2010, around 100 people in the Montreal area died when extreme heat stifled the area.

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"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.