Scorching western heatwave hits Vancouver Island and southern B.C.

Scorching western heatwave hits Vancouver Island and southern B.C.

People were trying to beat the heat Monday at Greater Victoria’s Thetis Lake as a heatwave gripped much of Vancouver Island and the B.C. South Coast.

The first official week of summer is seeing temperatures pushing 30 Celsius — 10 degrees or more above seasonal for Victoria, Duncan, and Nanaimo.

“It’s hard to get 30 degrees right up against the Pacific Ocean because it is our air conditioner, naturally speaking,” said Environment Canada meteorologist Armel Castellan.

It’s part of a sweltering heatwave that’s shattering records across western North America.

The temperature soared to 123 Fahrenheit (50.6 Celsius) in Palm Springs — the highest temperature ever recorded there.

It could be record-breaking weather on Vancouver Island as well, especially as the ridge intensifies heading into the weekend and things gets even hotter.

“This ridge is going to rebuild very strongly and it’s going to give us temperatures that are going to climb day-to-day, peaking over the weekend or even into early next week,” Castellan says.

It’s bad news for the drought situation on the South Island and East Island, and for B.C.’s wildfire risk.

Rain in early June helped, giving Victoria 33.8 mm of precipitation this month.

That’s more precipitation than was seen in March (18 mm), April (19.9 mm) and more than double what fell in May (15.2 mm), but after the driest spring on record, it’s not nearly enough.

“It’s certainly stressing the biology, the plant life, and it’s also having impacts on stream flows,” Castellan said.

Low flows mean the temperature in the water is warmer and that’s bad for the fish.”

Models are now predicting a hotter-than-normal July, August and even September as well.

Tess van StraatenTess van Straaten

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