Records fall as ‘unseasonably hot’ spring heat wave grips Vancouver Island

Records fall as 'unseasonably hot' spring heat wave grips Vancouver Island

The “unseasonably hot” weather for Vancouver Island is expected to continue, though there will be a reprieve on Tuesday, according to Environment Canada.

Special weather statements have been issued for most of the Island except the west-most and northern-most regions.

On Monday, the temperatures are forecast to be in the high 20s or low 30s, with overnight lows in the mid-teens.

Cooler marine air and low cloud will come in on Tuesday offering slightly lower temperatures with daytime highs in the mid-to-high 20s.

Then on Wednesday the unseasonably warm temperatures are forecast to return.

“Daytime highs will be 10 to 15 degrees Celsius above seasonal values while overnight lows will be 5 to 10 degrees above what is normally experienced this time of year,” the special weather statement says.

“Freezing levels will remain high throughout this event leading to increased snowpack melting with possible local flooding due to high stream flow levels.”

Environment Canada is also warning of a higher risk of heat-related illnesses with the rise in temperatures.

In a testament to the unusual heat so far this spring, several Island communities have shattered their all-time records for the highest temperature recorded by May 15.

Over the weekend, Campbell River sizzled at 33.3°C while Comox wasn’t far behind at 31.9°C — the hottest day ever recorded in the month of May in that city, breaking the old record of 31.7 set on May 29, 1983.

Tofino, typically cooler, managed a significant 28.3°C. Victoria Gonzales and Abbotsford were no exceptions with temperatures soaring to 30.7°C and 33.6°C respectively.

In fact, for Victoria Gonzales, it’s the earliest in the year the mercury has hit 30°C since record-keeping began in 1899, a full 12 days earlier than the previous record. To put that in perspective, over the last 30 years, Victoria Gonzales didn’t even cross 30°C in a whole year on 10 separate occasions

READ MORE: ‘I’m loving it’: Victoria residents beat the heat as temperatures soar

While the weather is expected to return to summer-like sun on Wednesday, Environment Canada reassured British Columbians it will not reach the severe, potentially fatal conditions experienced during the “Heat Dome” of late June 2021.

Extreme heat exposure study underway

As hot weather events continue to rise, the University of Victoria and the Capital Regional District are partnering to study the impact of extreme heat.

“The warming climate and associated extreme weather events will continue to have negative impacts on the health of people around the world, including residents of the CRD,” a news release about the survey says.

“In this region of 432,000 people—including 13 municipalities, 3 electoral regions and approximately 20 First Nations —many residents are also susceptible to an urban heat island, with adverse health outcomes, such as the body’s inability to cool when faced with highly elevated temperatures.”

The goal of the study is to develop an approach to heat events to help those most at risk.

The researchers are accepting responses until June 2023 through the online survey. Participants will be enterred into a draw for a $50 gift certificate. Anyone with questions can email [email protected].

“Exposure to extreme heat can result in cardiovascular, respiratory, and renal complications,” the news release says. “Yet, much publicly available information about human health effects of extreme heat, as well as ecological impacts, is lacking.”

READ MORE: UVic and CRD launch survey to understand the impact of heat dome on vulnerable populations

Laura BroughamLaura Brougham
April LawrenceApril Lawrence

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