Less than two weeks ago, southern Albertans faced below-seasonal temperatures for a snowy May long weekend.
Now, Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for much of the province, including Lethbridge.
On Wednesday, the city’s temperate reached just above 30 C. Ten years ago in 2011, the high on June 2 was 12 C. Last year, it reached 22.5 C.
Luke Palmer, emergency preparedness manager with the City of Lethbridge, encouraged residents to take care of themselves and others during heat waves.
“Really, our role is sharing information to keep our residents safe, and make sure that they’re participating in safe activities during the heat wave,” he said. “We would (make sure) our EMS teams are ready to respond to whatever calls we might see an influx of during the heat wave.”
He suggested staying hydrated and taking frequent breaks, as well as avoiding outdoor activities at peak heat times.
With wind expected to pick up Thursday, Palmer reminded residents to be conscious of their impacts on the environment.
“Looking at Lethbridge specifically, we know that it’s already been a dry start to the summer here,” he added. “If you’re going to be having fires or going camping, making sure that you’ve go adequate supplies in case something goes wrong.”
For now, city pools and spray parks aren’t operating due to COVID-19.
The city will be determining when and how to open those facilities once more information on Stage 2 of the province’s Open for Summer plan is provided.
“As we do wait for the province to indicate if we are gong to move to Stage 2, we are keeping that in mind that we can, you know, get those services open to the public so that we can provide those areas for people to cool down.”
Julie Kissick, one of the founders of non-profit Streets Alive Mission, urged people to direct anyone in need during heat waves to their facility on 4 Street South.
“During the day, we are open if they need to cool off, just like in the winter if they needed to warm up,” Kissick explained. “We threw in a water fountain, they can fill their own water bottles if they want.”
Kissick added the organization will likely run out of bottled water, and will gladly take donations of those, as well as granola bars, hats, sunglasses and rain coats.
“We want to make sure that whatever season we’re in, we’re accommodating our vulnerable population,” Palmer said.
Heat safety also applies to pets, according to animal control officer Derek Meidinger. By Wednesday afternoon, he said Lethbridge Animal services had already received a couple phone calls regarding dogs left in vehicles.
“Try and avoid it at all costs, really,” he said. “The environment of the vehicle can heat up so drastically.”
But not everyone has concerns about the heat. David Adebesin, who is originally from Nigeria, was enjoying the heat in the shade at Nicholas Sheran Park on Wednesday.
“It’s pretty cold in Canada and having the weather really hot like this, it helps you to get your vitamin D hiked up a little bit,” he said.