OHS Canada Magazine

Heat wave dubbed ‘dangerous,’ ‘historic,’ bakes much of Western Canada


VANCOUVER — Environment Canada warns the torrid heat wave that has settled over much of Western Canada won’t lift for days, although parts of British Columbia and Yukon could see some relief sooner.

Heat warnings remain posted across B.C. and Alberta, large parts of Saskatchewan, Northwest Territories and a section of Yukon as the weather office forecasts temperatures reaching 40 C in some areas.

Sixty temperature records fell Sunday in B.C., including in the Village of Lytton, where the mercury reached 46.6 C — breaking the all-time Canadian high of 45 C, set in Saskatchewan in 1937.

Environment Canada warns the “prolonged, dangerous, and historic heat wave” could ease as early as Tuesday on B.C.’s south coast and in Yukon, but won’t relent until mid-week, or early next week, elsewhere.

Forecasters say humid conditions could make it feel close to 50 C in B.C.’s Fraser Valley, and area raspberry growers say any cooling by Tuesday may come too late for their heat-ravaged crops, with one farm posting on social media that its season is likely over before a single berry has been picked.

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More than a dozen school districts in the province have cancelled classes for the day rather than hold them in un-air conditioned classrooms, and Fraser Health says it is temporarily juggling appointments and relocating several COVID-19 vaccination clinics to reduce the chance of heat-related illnesses.

“All individuals with appointments at affected immunization clinics will be notified to proceed to alternate clinics and all appointments will be honoured,” Fraser Health said in a statement released Saturday.

More information was expected to be released by the end of the day on Monday regarding any extension of the temporary measures, the health authority said.