Most of British Columbia is grappling with the prospect of unseasonable warmth this weekend as a heat wave descends on parts of the province, and Victoria is no exception.
Victoria businesses are already readying for a spike in customers seeking fans, kiddie pools, and other inventive ways to keep cool, including Castle Building Centre, which expects a surge in demand for cooling appliances.
“There will be some people that book ahead. Maybe on Thursday they’ll come get them as soon as they hear it is going to be hot. It’s just going to be hard for the people that, you know, Saturday or Sunday, come in and try to find them,” said employee Maria Lee.
Temperatures in Victoria are expected to hit the high 20s, with a peak of 28 degrees on Mother’s Day Sunday. The forecast further north is roaring into the 30s for inland areas like Port Alberni and Lake Cowichan.
And yes, that’s much hotter than usual for this time of year, according to Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.
“Into the weekend, we’re going to see temperatures that are 10, 12 degrees above seasonal for daytime highs,” he told CHEK News Tuesday.
While the predicted heat wave may not match the intensity of 2021’s heat dome, the province is on high alert. The rising temperatures are expected to speed up snowmelt and potentially escalate the risk of flooding and wildfires.
The province stands ready to support communities by opening cooling centres if required, Bowinn Ma, Minister, Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, said in a statement.
“At this time, Environment Canada is not anticipating that heat dome scenario. But elevated temperatures can still be a risk to human health. We are able to support communities in opening cooling centres as required,” Ma said.
Despite the looming heat, some residents are finding ways to enjoy the rising temperatures.
At Thetis Lake, Rebecca Ellis and Megan McNeil made the most of the sunny day, paddle-boarding on the water.
“It’s not too bad in terms of coldness,” they remarked.
However, the warm spell is not just a weekend phenomenon. The heat wave is projected to persist well into the second half of May, with above-normal UV indexes.
So whether you’re preparing to beat the heat or savour the sun, remember to take precautions when outside.