It’s going to be another day of hot, hot heat across the province. Environment Canada has now issued 13 heat warnings across the province, through to Friday morning.
“Temperatures will soar this afternoon, even with the additional cloud cover across the southwest parts of B.C.,” said Global BC meteorologist Mark Madryga.
“It won’t be as hot on Friday, and the heat warnings will likely be ended by then.”
There are currently 13 regions in B.C. under a heat warning: Metro Vancouver, Central Coast inland sections, East Vancouver Island, Fraser Canyon, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, Kootenay Lake, North Coast inland sections, North Thompson, Okanagan Valley, South Thompson, Sunshine Coast and the West Kootenay.
Temperatures are expected to reach daytime highs between 29 and 35 C in Metro Vancouver.
In the Okanagan Valley, daytime highs between 35 and 40 C are expected.
These temperatures can be deadly. A heat-dome event in the summer of last year saw more than 600 deaths in the province and in the heat wave earlier this summer, between July 26 and Aug. 3, 16 people died.
For this two-day heat wave, many municipalities have opened up cooling centres or misting stations.
The City of Burnaby has four cooling centres available with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and water inside.
“We have had more than 2,800 visits to our cooling centres so far this summer, and that’s not even counting the outdoor ones,” said Cole Wagner with the City of Burnaby.
With extreme heat expected throughout the day, people are being reminded to check on vulnerable community members.
“Let’s take care of our vulnerable populations. That includes not only our elderly residents but also our younger children, pregnant people, and outdoor workers who can often be vulnerable to heat-related illness,” said Bobby Sekhon, an Environment Canada spokesperson.
If you’re feeling hot, go to a cooling centre, officials said. Staying in the shade or taking a cold shower can also help you stay cool.
”We’re welcoming everyone. Come in, cool off, use our bathroom if you have to,” said Wagner.
With scorching high heat, many longstanding B.C. heat records were broken on Wednesday:
- In the Comox area, a new record of 31.6 C was recorded, breaking the old record of 30.4 C set in 1977.
- In the Courtenay area, a new record of 31.6 was recorded, breaking the old record of 30.4 set in 1977.
- In the Gibsons area, a new record of 31.1 was recorded, breaking the old record of 30.9 C set in 2012.
- In the Lillooet area, a new record of 38.2 C was recorded, breaking the old record of 37.8 C set in 1977.
- In the Malahat area, the 2008 record was tied at 31.4 C.
- In the Pemberton area, a new record of 37 C was recorded, breaking the old record of 36.1 set in 1977.
- In the Sechelt area, a new record of 31.1 C was recorded, breaking the previous record of 30.9 set in 2012.
On Wednesday, Dr. Birinder Narang, a Global BC medical contributor, said heat-related illnesses have many indicators that people can spot.
“Things you want to look for are severe nausea and vomiting, fainting or loss of consciousness, confusion or disorientation, difficulty speaking, movement co-ordination problems, (feeling) lethargic, not sweating or not urinating can also be a sign of severe dehydration,” said Narang.
“Severe heat illnesses and heat stroke are medical emergencies and people should call 911.”
The City of Vancouver is also encouraging residents to use cooling centres amid ongoing heat alerts.
The City of Vancouver and Burnaby are not the only municipalities that have cooling centres for the public.
A list of cooling centres around the province has been curated on the B.C. government’s EmergencyInfoBC webpage, as well.
The heat warnings across the province are expected to last until Friday.
Online resources for protecting oneself from the heat are available on the HealthLink BC website.