Heat warnings have been issued for much of Alberta, including the province’s two largest cities.
As of Wednesday morning, the heat warnings stretched from areas as far north as Peace River and Wabasca, south through the Edmonton, Red Deer and Calgary regions, and into High River and Claresholm.
By Wednesday afternoon, nearly the entire province was under a heat warning.
Heat warnings are issued when very high-temperature conditions are expected to pose an elevated risk of heat illnesses, such as heat stroke or heat exhaustion, according to Environment Canada.
“We issue extreme heat warnings when we’re expecting the heat to last at least two days,” said Kyle Fougere, a meteorologist with Environment Canada. “We expect daytime temperatures to reach 29 degrees.
“But also when there’s no recovery overnight. So if the overnight low is only going to reach 14 or higher, that’s when we’ll trigger it.
“Two days of consecutive heat with no real recovery overnight because the body doesn’t really get a chance to recover,” Fougere said.
“It is the hottest time of the year in the Edmonton area, so it’s not unexpected to have this heat and people can still obviously enjoy it. But if you’re going to be out in the heat for quite a while, it’s important to stay hydrated and take breaks from the heat.”
The federal weather agency said daytime highs will range from 29 C to the mid-30s, combined with overnight lows near 14 C. These conditions are expected through Thursday.
Edmonton is forecast to reach highs of 28 C Wednesday, 31 C Thursday and 30 C Friday, according to Global Edmonton weather specialist Mike Sobel.
“We do have a ridge of high pressure over the province that is going to keep this heat for several days,” Fougere said. “We’re expecting daytime highs in that 28-30 degrees for the Edmonton area for today, Thursday and into Friday.
“There is a little bit of a low pressure system that’s coming through on the weekend so we’re going to see some more showery conditions in the evenings and temperatures drop a little bit down to daytime highs of 23 degrees on Saturday.
“But by Saturday, Sunday, we’re going to be back up to about 27. So it’s still going to be a warm weekend for the long weekend but we’re just more likely to see some evening showers.”
Calgary is forecast to reach highs of 27 C Wednesday, 30 C Thursday and 30 C Friday, according to Global Calgary’s chief meteorologist Tiffany Lizée.
“An upper ridge in the jet stream continues to build over western Canada,” Lizée said. “B.C. has been battling extreme heat for a few days now with temperatures in the mid-30s and even low-40s for parts of the interior. That heat will now spill into Alberta over the next few days.
“While daytime highs on Wednesday will be on the cusp of extreme heat criteria, the province will see afternoon temperatures jump into the 30s starting Thursday and lasting until Saturday.
“It’s important to remember that it’s not only the daytime heat that’s concerning, but also the overnight temperatures that are staying warm and not providing relief from the heat. This can be especially concerning for our vulnerable population and those who don’t have air conditioning.”
People are urged to take the following precautions to protect themselves and those around them:
- consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day
- take frequent breaks from the heat, spending time in cooled indoor spaces where possible
- drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated
- check for your children or pets before you exit your vehicle. Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle, for any length of time
Symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion can include high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness.
More health advice can be found on Alberta Health Services’ website.
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With files from Emily Mertz, Global News