Third heat wave on the way for southern B.C.

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People across the province have endured extreme heat - and the impacts of wildfires all summer long. But many are worried those will only get worse in the years to come, following that alarming U.N. report on climate change. It says humans are to blame for these trends. But as Aaron McArthur reports, pressure is mounting on the government to do more. – Aug 9, 2021

Southern B.C. is about to experience yet another heat wave this week, where temperatures in the Interior could hit 40 C for the third time this summer.

The heat wave will develop Tuesday and likely end next Monday, with the hottest days likely to be this Thursday and Friday.

Environment Canada has issued special weather statements for much of the region.

Click to play video: 'B.C. evening weather forecast: August 8'
B.C. evening weather forecast: August 8

Coastal areas could see a range in temperature from the high 20s to mid-30s, with overnight temperatures dropping to only 17 degrees, possibly even higher.

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Interior regions could see daytime temperatures range from the mid-30s to potentially 40 C and overnight lows down to only 18, also likely even higher.

This has been an exceptional and scary season.

Meteorologists and climatologists with Environment Canada cannot remember a season with three heat waves, especially one where temperatures in the Interior approach 40 C.

In the early 2000s and prior, B.C. would go years with no heat waves at all. Heat warnings for the region began less than 10 years ago.

Climate change is a huge concern now.

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B.C.’s weather is driven by the behaviour of the jet stream. Due to climate change and the warming of the Arctic, the jet stream is weakening and its behaviour is changing.

A healthy jet stream would behave almost like a snake with ridges and troughs moving across a certain area, thus bringing rain at times, and sun at times.

With climate change, the weakening jet stream is stalling or holding its shape for prolonged periods of time.

The impact on weather is prolonged periods of drought and heat, or, depending on your proximity to the jet stream, prolonged periods of cold or rain.

Click to play video: 'Trying to learn lessons from June’s heat dome'
Trying to learn lessons from June’s heat dome

Environment Canada has urged the public to watch for the effects of heat illness, such as swelling, rash, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke.

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“The risks are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors,” the department said. “Drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place.”

The BC Coroners Service recently reported that 70 per cent of sudden and unexpected deaths during the June 25-July 1 heat wave were tied to extreme temperatures.

A preliminary review found that 570 of the deaths were heat-related, the service said.

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