Heat warnings are in effect for much of British Columbia and Alberta as a “heat dome” has trapped high pressure in the west, creating long-lasting high temperatures. Temperatures in Metro Vancouver are expected to reach 38C on Saturday, with humidx values in the 40s.
Nighttime temperatures should only drop to between 15 and 20 ° C, which creates uncomfortable sleeping conditions after long hot days.
Parks are proving popular
Metro Vancouver Parks Supervisor Marcel Labrèche said when the weather is hot, people flock to the parks.
“People go looking for cool places. I hope they will look for shady places, near creeks and the like, ”he said.
He says one of the biggest mistakes people make when going to a regional park is not getting enough water. He also recommends that people pack sunscreen and wear hats and thin, light clothing.
Labrèche also reminds park visitors not to leave their children or pets in the car, even if they only intend to enter the park briefly.
“Cars heat up so quickly in our parking lots,” said Labrèche.
With the heat increasing the potential for wildfires, campfires are banned in most Metro Vancouver parks and briquette grills are also not allowed. Smoking is only permitted in designated smoking areas.
“It’s definitely a huge concern, especially with these hot temperatures,” said Labrèche.
Electricity demand breaks record for second time this week
BC Hydro said that on Friday evening, as temperatures in parts of the interior of British Columbia approached 40 ° C, the peak hourly demand record was broken for the second time this week, as British Columbians were increasing their air conditioners and fans to stay cool. The mercury hit 39.2C in Lytton on Friday, which holds the heat record for the province.
BC Hydro expects usage to increase over the weekend and peak on Monday. In 2020, peak hourly demand reached 7,900 megawatts on August 18. In the coming days, BC Hydro forecasts that hourly peak demand will reach 8,300 megawatts.
The utility has canceled the majority of scheduled outages and suspended disconnections for those who have not paid their electricity bills, in an effort to keep British Columbians safe during the heat episode.
Staying Cool Outweighs COVID-19 Risks, Health Authorities Say
Health officials across the province say the risks associated with extreme heat outweigh those associated with COVID-19, at this time.
Health officials in the Interior, Fraser and Coast of Vancouver say anyone who has trouble breathing while wearing a mask, indoors or out, should remove it immediately.
Additionally, cooling centers are open in parts of the province, and officials say no one will be denied access due to overcrowding or physical remoteness.
Exposure to extreme heat can lead to weakness, disorientation, and exhaustion, and in severe cases, it can also lead to heat stroke, also known as sunstroke, which can be life threatening.