New Victoria misting stations not ready for unseasonably early heatwave

New Victoria misting stations not ready for unseasonably early heatwave

A 23 degrees day in May in the capital city is a bit unusual, and it’s about to get warmer as a heatwave nears.

Unseasonably hot weather is hitting coastal B.C., with the highest temperatures expected Sunday and Monday, according to Environment Canada, with daytime highs 10-15 degrees above normal.

“This is going to be the first hot weekend of the year, and we’ve got to be prepared for that,” said Health Minister Adrian Dix in a presser Thursday.

Daily temperature records may be broken, but officials say the hot conditions won’t approach those reached during the deadly heat dome of 2021, which killed nearly 600 people.

“This is not a heat emergency this weekend but it is unusually hot for May,” said Dix.

READ MORE: First heat wave of the year to hit Vancouver Island this weekend

Health officials are warning to watch out for the possibility of heat-related illnesses like heat stroke.

Signs of heat stroke can include:

  • overheating
  • dizziness
  • confusion
  • headache
  • rapid breathing and heartbeat
  • extreme thirst

If you or someone is suffering from a possible heat stroke, don’t hesitate to call 911, as it can be fatal. If you can, health experts suggest taking a cold shower or bath, applying wet cloths to your skin, and drinking lots of water.

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Although officials are sending plenty of heat-related health warnings, the temperatures won’t trigger the need for cooling centres or misting stations in municipalities across the province.

“The trigger for activating that is 29 degrees or above during the daytime, or overnight temperatures 16 degrees and above,” said Tanya Seal-Jones, the city of Victoria’s emergency program coordinator.

Seal-Jones says the cooling stations were not well attended years, so they won’t be putting them in place, instead working with malls and other public indoor spaces where people can cool off.

Misting stations on the other hand will be becoming semi-permanent.

“Our public works and engineering department are building these. They’re aluminum towers that will be bolted to the ground across the city in each neighbourhood,” said Seal-Jones who says a grant is paying for their construction. “we are going to put them up as soon as they’re finished being built, which should be the first week of June and they’ll stay up for the heat season, so all summer long.”

Seal-Jones says there will be a total of 13 misting stations with a push button for the mister and a water bottle filling station.

“We could put them up earlier next year because we’ll own them, they’re just not ready quite yet,” said Seal-Jones.

Residents say the need to be prepared for more frequent, and earlier heat waves just like this is imperative for the province and municipalities everywhere.

“You’re going to have little hot spells throughout the year, especially in Victoria, especially with climate change. I think the preparedness should be all year ready to go,” said Jan Vallillee.

For this upcoming weekend, the city of Victoria has all its water fountains online, and the splash pad at the base of Beacon Hill Park on Douglas is operational.


Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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