Warnings expand as heat wave settles over B.C., with weekend temperatures set to rise

Warnings expand as heat wave settles over B.C., with weekend temperatures set to rise
THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
A man cools off at a temporary misting station deployed by the city in the Downtown Eastside due to a heat wave, in Vancouver on August 16, 2023.

A heat wave is settling over parts of British Columbia with Environment Canada and the provincial government warning of high temperatures stretching into next week.

The weather agency has expanded a series of heat warnings to include the Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound, where daytime highs are forecast to reach 32 C.

The hottest temperatures are expected to start hitting the province Sunday.

Environment Canada had already issued heat warnings for eastern Vancouver Island, where daytime highs are expected to hit the low 30s.

Another warning covers the Kitimat and Terrace regions, where highs near 30 C are expected Saturday until Tuesday night.

A joint statement from B.C.’s ministries of Health and Emergency Management, as well as the provincial health officer, says Environment Canada is expected to expand warnings to the Interior as the heat spreads from west to east.

The current forecast for Kamloops, B.C., says the mercury is expected to hit 40 C on Monday and Tuesday, followed by 39 C on Wednesday.

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In the northern community of Fort Nelson, B.C., highs between 29 C and 32 C are expected from Sunday to next Wednesday. The entire community was evacuated for more than two weeks this spring due to the threat of an early-season wildfire.

For many in B.C., the province’s statement says these will be the first high temperatures of the season, and people should take care to monitor their health.

Environment Canada says the heat poses a “moderate” risk to public health. The risks are elevated for seniors and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health challenges, the agency’s bulletin says.

It’s encouraging people to watch for signs of heat illness — including heavy sweating, rashes and fainting — and to check in on friends and neighbours who may be at greater risk, especially if they live by themselves.

A special weather statement is also in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where temperatures are set to reach into the high 20s and low 30s.

The provincial statement adds that wildfire activity is expected to increase with the hot, dry weather after a “relatively quiet” few weeks. There are currently no wildfires of note, referring to blazes that threaten public safety or infrastructure.

A return to more seasonal temperatures is expected later next week.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 5, 2024.

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