The extreme heat in the interior of the province is expected to last until Wednesday, with daytime highs of up to 41 C and nightly lows of 20 C. “Make plans now. We know the heat is coming, ”said Dr. Sue Pollock, Chief Medical Officer of Interior Health, recommending people look for cooler places. “Just avoid spending time outdoors except early in the morning or late in the day. “
Pollock encourages people to watch out for those at high risk, including the elderly and those with underlying heart and lung conditions.
Vancouver Coastal Health is warning residents that high temperatures, such as those expected in the coming days, are historically associated with an increase in the number of deaths among residents of the Lower Mainland.
As the heat begins to rise on Friday, temperatures will soar over the weekend, with extreme heat and humidity during the day and night that shouldn’t bring much relief. The heat wave will last at least until Tuesday, with Sunday daytime temperatures expected to be dangerously hot.
CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe explains that the reason for this heat wave is a high pressure system that moved from the Pacific Ocean and created a thermal dome. She says the dome made the air flow and blocked the heat for at least a few days.
Coping with the heat
Health officials say there are a variety of mild to severe symptoms related to heat-related illnesses, including thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness, and fainting or collapse. They advise residents of the Lower Mainland to take precautions to protect themselves from the heat:
- Drink cool non-alcoholic drinks (preferably water) regardless of your activity. Don’t wait until you’re thirsty.
- If your doctor usually limits the amount of fluids you drink or if you take anti-water pills, ask them to increase the amount of water you can drink in hot weather.
- Never leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can reach 52 C in 20 minutes in a closed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C. Leaving the car windows open slightly or “cracked” will not keep the interior of the vehicle at a safe temperature.
- Look for an air-conditioned facility, such as a mall, library, community center, or restaurant).
- Use public wading pools, water parks or swimming pools, or take a cool bath or shower.
- At current temperatures, fans alone are not efficient. Applying a mist of cool water or damp towels before sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off.
- Dress for the weather by wearing loose, light clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.
- Keep your home cool. Open the windows, close the blinds, use an air conditioner (if you have one), and cook meals that don’t require an oven.
- Avoid sunburn, stay in the shade, or use sunscreen with SPF 15 or higher.
Avoid strenuous work or exercise in hot weather. If you must exercise, according to health authorities, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic liquids per hour. Limit outdoor activities during the day in the early morning and evening.
Learn about others
- People living alone are at high risk for serious heat-related illnesses. Check the elderly and those who are unable to leave their homes regularly for signs of heat-related illness.
- Ask if people know how to prevent heat-related illnesses and do the same.
- If other people are not doing well, move them to a cool, shady place, help them hydrate, and call for medical help if necessary.
- Listen to local news and weather channels.
- For more information about heat-related illnesses, call HealthLink BC on 811.
Pollock notes that the elderly and the homeless are particularly vulnerable to heat.
Daytime temperatures in Metro Vancouver are expected to range from around 27 ° C to 32 ° C on Friday, while nighttime temperatures are only expected to drop to only 20-24 ° C. The temperature is expected to continue to rise over the weekend and early next week.
Inland, temperatures are expected to reach a maximum of 30 degrees, with temperatures in the southern interior expected to exceed 40 ° C.
Cooling centers will be open at Interior, Fraser and Vancouver Coastal Health, and because officials say the risks of extreme heat outweigh the risk of COVID-19, no one will be denied access for the sake of physical distancing.
Authorities say anyone who has difficulty breathing while wearing a mask should remove it, whether inside or outside.
The Mission School District announced that schools will be closed on Monday due to the heat.
“Many of our elementary schools do not have sufficient air conditioning to keep classrooms cool under these circumstances,” said Superintendent Angus Wilson, regarding expected temperatures of up to 40 ° C.
Mission schools will reopen Tuesday for the last day of school.
School District 43 encompassing Port Moody, Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam announced Friday that it is letting parents choose to keep their children at home.
“Not all people tolerate heat well and it can be a factor in choosing whether to keep a child at home or send him to school,” Superintendent Patricia Gartland said in a statement.
“This is a family decision, and the school only asks parents / guardians to inform the school if their child is going to be absent. “
The district says schools in the area also lack air conditioning and that due to COVID-19 protocols, students and staff are not allowed to use fans. Ventilation is limited to directing air out of windows and doors.