Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for a vast swath of British Columbia, as the province prepares for the first serious heat wave of summer.
The warnings apply to most of the province, including much of Vancouver Island, the Lower Mainland, the Okanagan and central British Columbia.
“A dangerous long duration heat wave will affect B.C. beginning on Friday and lasting until Tuesday,” Environment Canada warned.
“The duration of this heat wave is concerning as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures. This record-breaking heat event will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses.”
Read more: Okanagan heat wave expected to smash records
Temperatures of between 34-36 C are forecast for Vancouver on Monday and Tuesday, between 40-42 C in Abbotsford and between 38 and 40 C in Kelowna.
The warnings come as a high-pressure ridge moves over B.C. and forces cooler Pacific air northward, according to Global BC Meteorologist Kristi Gordon.
The hot air in B.C.’s Southern Interior is expected to become trapped in a sort of “heat dome,” Gordon said.
“(With the) high pressure, that warmth tries to get out, but then it gets pushed back down by that high pressure and it just continues to heat up because of the clear skies and the solar radiation we’re getting,” she said.
“To give you perspective, the hottest temperature we’ve ever recorded across the province was 44.4 C, that was in Lytton way back in 1941.”
The all-time heat record for any location in Canada was 45 C, recorded in Yellow Grass and Midale, SK, in July 1937, according to Environment Canada.
Gordon cautioned that the current forecast is still a projection of events several days away and that the situation could still change.
But she said the possibility for unprecedented heat was there.
“We could potentially be breaking those all-time records,” she said.
Residents are being warned to drink plenty of water, stay in a cool place, and to check in on older family, friends and neighbours.
Pets and people should never be left in a parked vehicle, Environment Canada added.
Gordon said the heat is likely to remain in place across southern B.C. until at least Wednesday.