Map of Simcoe Muskoka

Environment

Extreme Weather

Climate change projections predict an increase in the number and intensity of precipitation (rainfall and snowfall) events as a result of climate change. At this time we don’t have local data about extreme weather and its impacts because extreme weather events have not been common, more frequent and extreme storms (including winter storms) and flooding have the potential to impact all residents in our region. Climate-related extreme weather events also include the likelihood of drought, which occurs as a result of warmer temperatures and a lack of precipitation. Drought also has the potential to affect the health and wellbeing in our region. Individuals with mobility issues, mental illness, chronic diseases, and those who are socially isolated, may have an increased sensitivity to these extreme weather impacts.

The health impacts associated with extreme weather can be direct and indirect. Direct health impacts occur as a result of direct exposure to a climate-related extreme weather hazard, and can include injury, illness, psychological trauma, and death. Indirect health impacts are health effects that can occur as a result of impacts to resources, health systems, or infrastructure from extreme weather events. These indirect health impacts can include: food and water borne illness from food and water contamination; mold-related illness due to mold exposure from precipitation events; anxiety, stress, and/or depression related to infrastructure damage (e.g damages to homes and businesses); and exacerbated illness and injury due to lack of access to health care.

This infographic from Public Health Ontario describes direct and indirect risks related to extreme weather events and highlights that certain vulnerable populations are at greater risk for negative health outcomes.