Heat wave expected to break in the Southern Interior Sunday; rain forecast for some cities | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Heat wave expected to break in the Southern Interior Sunday; rain forecast for some cities

July 31, 2021 - 10:08 AM

Today's expected to be the hottest day of the heat wave with temperatures forecast to potentially reach 39 C, depending on where you are in the Southern Interior.

Environment Canada's heat warning for the South Thompson, Nicola, Similkameen,  Okanagan Valley, Shuswap, and  Boundary area is set to end Sunday morning.

"A strengthening ridge of high pressure will lead to rising temperatures across interior B.C. Daytime highs 34 to 39 C combined with overnight lows 16 to 20 C are forecast," reads the alert.

"Relatively cooler temperatures are expected Sunday into Monday."

Environment Canada meteorologist Gregg Walters  iNFOnews.ca said rain is on the agenda and it could help with the smoke as well as the heat, for the short term at least.

“It (smoke) will come back,” Walters said. “Those forest fires are pretty widespread. Getting a little bit of rain like this is good, but it is going to warm up afterwards and you’re probably looking at relatively dry conditions for, at least, a lot of the first part of August.”

With both the heat and the smoke, the risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors.

This heatwave will also be in the Lower Mainland, where the BC Coroners Service saw an unprecedented number of reports of sudden and unexpected deaths across the province.

"We have now confirmed that, from June 20 to July 29, 569 people died as a result of the extreme heat," Lisa Lapointe, chief coroner, said in a press release.

"This number is preliminary and subject to increase as additional reported deaths are entered into our system. The number of deaths reported is a 300% increase over the number of deaths that had been reported to the BC Coroners Service during the same period in previous years."

After preliminary review, the Coroner's Service can now provide the age ranges of those who died as a result of the extreme heat.

The data confirms what is known about the risks of extreme heat for older individuals and shows that British Columbia's seniors were most impacted by this event.

Of those who died, 79% were age 65 or older, 65% were age 70 or older and 40% were age 80 or older.

"Anecdotally, our coroners reported that many of the deaths experienced were amongst those living alone in private residences with minimal ventilation," LaPointe said,

More information about the circumstances of the deaths and will be released as it becomes available and new strategies will be formed. 

"We are again about to experience unusually high temperatures in some parts of the province this weekend,"  LaPointe said in a statement.

"Knowing that our older residents are more vulnerable, we ask that you please look out for family, friends and neighbours, particularly those who are elderly and live alone."

Whenever possible, people are encouraged to visit cooler environments, such as cooling centres, malls, libraries and other air-conditioned community spaces for essential respite from the effects of severe heat.

Watch for the effects of heat illness: swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heat stroke and the worsening of some health conditions.



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