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Warnings expand as heat wave settles over B.C., with weekend temperatures set to rise

People paddle racing kayaks on False Creek in Vancouver, on Wednesday, July 3, 2024. A heat wave is settling over parts of British Columbia as Environment Canada warns of very high temperatures stretching into next week. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Original Publication Date July 05, 2024 - 8:46 AM

VANCOUVER - A heat wave has settled over much of British Columbia with Environment Canada issuing warnings in more than two dozen regions about soaring temperatures that could reach into the 40s and continue next week.

The weather agency late Friday expanded the warnings to encompass 26 regions, including a broad swath of the southern Interior, such as Lytton, where the daytime high is forecast to hit 41 C by Tuesday.

In other parts of the province, the hottest temperatures are expected to arrive on Sunday.

Areas under the expanded heat warnings now include most of the province's bottom third.

Environment Canada had already issued heat warnings for eastern Vancouver Island, where daytime highs are expected to hit the low 30s.

Another warning covers the Kitimat and Terrace regions, where highs near 30 C were expected Saturday until Tuesday night.

A joint statement from B.C.'s ministries of Health and Emergency Management, as well as the provincial health officer, said Environment Canada was expected to expand warnings as the heat spread from west to east.

Health Minister Adrian Dix said vulnerable people, including the elderly, people who live alone, those with mental or chronic illnesses and young people and pregnant people, were at high risk during times of heat waves.

"It's of course always important to identify cooler space if possible in your home and prepare it," he said at an unrelated news conference in Vancouver's Downtown Eastside.

"Make sure to shut windows and close curtains or blinds during the heat of the day to block the sun and prevent hotter outdoor air from coming inside, and open doors and windows when it is cooler outside."

He said in case of heat-related emergencies people should call 911.

Special weather statements were also in effect in several regions, including Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where temperatures are set to reach into the high 20s and low 30s.

Tourists in Vancouver's Stanley Park didn't seem concerned.

John Isaac from Toronto was sitting on a bench Friday with his granddaughter Giselle, enjoying the “beautiful sunshine.”

“Apparently the weather's gonna have a heat wave, but we're all ready for it,” said Isaac. “It's gonna be good.”

Dana Bates and friends Machelle Thornton and Kim Walters, all from Hot Springs, Ark., were enjoying roses in the park.

Bates called the weather in Vancouver “absolutely perfect.”

The American visitors might find things less pleasant if they head inland next week, instead of boarding a cruise to Alaska as planned.

The forecast for Kamloops, B.C., said the mercury was expected to hit 40 C on Monday and Tuesday, followed by 39 C on Wednesday.

In the northern community of Fort Nelson, B.C., highs between 29 C and 32 C were expected from Sunday to next Wednesday. The entire community was evacuated for more than two weeks this spring due to the threat of an early-season wildfire.

The province's statement says that for many in B.C., these will be the first high temperatures of the season, and people should take care to monitor their health.

Environment Canada said the heat posed a "moderate" risk to public health.

It encouraged people to watch for signs of heat illness — including heavy sweating, rashes and fainting — and to check in on friends and neighbours who may be at greater risk, especially if they live by themselves.

The provincial statement said that wildfire activity is expected to increase with the hot, dry weather after a "relatively quiet" few weeks. There are currently no wildfires of note, referring to blazes that threaten public safety or infrastructure.

A return to more seasonal temperatures is expected later next week.

American visitor Thornton was in no rush for the weather in Vancouver to change. She said it was 38 C in Hot Springs when she left.

“The weather here is just wonderful for us, it’s beautiful,” she said, calling it "fall weather.”

Walters pointed out the jacket she had in her bag, in case it got any cooler.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2024.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2024
The Canadian Press

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