BC told to brace for heat wave as forecast shows 40 C for Kamloops | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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BC told to brace for heat wave as forecast shows 40 C for Kamloops

A woman balances on a rock while cooling off in the frigid Lynn Creek water in North Vancouver, B.C., on Monday, June 28, 2021. A warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment Canada says people across British Columbia should brace for an upcoming heat wave that's expected to send temperatures into the high 30s and beyond in the southern Interior.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

British Columbia residents are being told to brace for a coming heat wave that could send temperatures into the high 30s and beyond, with the government reminding people to check in on their neighbours.

The heat will start on Vancouver Island and move east across the province, hitting the Interior over the later part of the weekend, Environment Canada warning preparedness meteorologist Armel Castellan said Wednesday.

The forecast for Kamloops shows daytime highs of 40 C next Monday and Tuesday, which would be enough to trigger a heat warning.

Castellan said that as a ridge of high pressure made its way across B.C., the high temperatures and clear, sunny days were likely to raise the wildfire risk.

Energy Minister Josie Osborne said people should know where to retreat to find cool places in their home or in public such as cooling centres, air-conditioned buildings and outdoor water misting stations.

She said people in income-qualified households could also apply to a BC Hydro program offering free portable air conditioners.

"One of the most important messages to give British Columbians is to look out for your neighbours, for family, for friends, and to help them," Osborne said at a news conference about the expansion of a rebate program to encourage more people to buy heat pumps.

Under the expansion, a family of four making less than $87,350 would be eligible for a $16,000 rebate on a heat pump, up from $9,500. The pre-tax income threshold for up to $10,500 in rebates is also being raised to $185,620 for a family of four with two adults and two children, up from $114,647.

The government says average heat-pump installation costs between $8,000 and $19,000. The devices can cool a home in summer and warm it in winter.

Castellan said B.C.'s temperatures could begin cooling by next Wednesday, but as the ridge moves on to the Prairies, there will be the potential for dry lightning in B.C. as the province heads into what is typically the hottest, driest stretch of summer.

Castellan said the difference between the upcoming heat wave and the deadly heat dome in summer 2021 is that temperatures next week aren't expected to surpass heat-warning criteria by such large margins.

"It's a long-duration event, there's no doubt about that," he said of the forecast.

"But the impact on human health isn't as extreme as when the temperatures get into this 45 (Celsius) and beyond degrees, particularly for the hottest places in the southwest Interior," he said in an interview.

The BC Coroners Service said there were 619 heat-related deaths during B.C.'s 2021 heat-dome event, when temperatures soared above 40 C in many communities from June 25 to July 1.

A wildfire that killed two people on June 30, 2021, in the Fraser Canyon community of Lytton occurred a day after the village of about 200 people experienced Canada's hottest recorded temperature of 49.6 C.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 3, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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