Western Canadian heat at nearly 116 degrees breaks national record
TORONTO – Vancouverites used to fry eggs in pots and pans placed on their decks.
A man checked into an air-conditioned five-star hotel, after the five fans aimed at his bed at home and the seventh cold shower did not bring relief.
Lettuce plants have shriveled in the Okanagan Valley, the scenic wine region of British Columbia. The flowers have faded. The people have faded.
The heat wave across western Canada brought much of a country known for its sweating sweater weather.
Canada broke a national heat record on Sunday when the temperature in a small town in British Columbia hit nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking an 84-year-old record of nearly 3 degrees, with dangerously hot weather expected. continue for several days.
“It’s a complete shock for a Canadian – it looks like Las Vegas or India – not Vancouver, “said Chris Johnson, a criminal lawyer who was heading to an air-conditioned hotel room on Monday as temperatures inside his house hit 90 degrees Fahrenheit.
Linking a weather event to climate change requires careful attribution analysis, but heat waves around the world are increasingly frequent, more durable and more dangerous, experts say. David Phillips, senior climatologist at Environment Canada, a government agency, said its early timing, intensity and duration, could all be attributed to rising global temperatures.
“These are the heat waves of our grandparents, but it’s different now because of the human component,” said Mr Phillips, referring to climate change and the well-documented effects of human behavior like emissions from carbon on the planet.
Mr Phillips stressed the dangers to public health of having heat at night. “We know nighttime temperatures are where people die from heat waves,” he said.
At a time when many Canadians are finally enjoying summer amid the easing of coronavirus restrictions and newly opened restaurant, beach and park patios, scorching temperatures have added another public health burden. Now authorities also have to deal with both the relaxed rules and trying to keep residents cool.
Canadians are not the only ones feeling overheated. The same high-pressure system that is suffocating the region also produced record heat in the northwestern United States, including 112 degrees on Sunday in Portland, Ore.
Emily Jubenvill, co-owner and manager of Enderberry Farm, a farm that produces organic vegetables in the northern Okanagan Valley, said she and her husband plan to beat the heat by heading out to the fields Tuesday at 3 in the morning to pick vegetables. “Things ripen faster under heat stress, so we can’t harvest that much,” she said, noting that the flavor of vegetables like lettuce could become extremely bitter if exposed to a very hot weather.
Canada’s old national heat record was 45 degrees Celsius, or 113 degrees Fahrenheit, but on Sunday Lytton, a town of less than 300 people about three hours east of Vancouver, reaches 46.6 Celsius, or 115.9 Fahrenheit, according to Environment Canada.
Other cities in southern British Columbia, including Victoria, Kamloops and Kelowna, are breaking local records under the high-pressure thermal dome, and temperatures well above 100 degrees are expected through Wednesday.
Previously, Midale and Yellow Grass, both in rural Saskatchewan, held the Canadian record for the highest temperature on July 5, 1937, at 113 degrees.
The “desert heat” of Western Canada contrasts with the sultry “jungle heat” seen in the east, similar to the temperatures and humidity experienced in Florida or the Gulf of Mexico, Mr. Phillips, the climatologist.
According to the 2018 National Climate Assessment, a scientific report from 13 US federal agencies, heat waves increased from two per year in the 1960s to six per year in 2010. The heat wave season has also increased by 45 days longer than it was before. in the 1960s, the report notes.
As the suffocating heat hits much of western North America, experts worry about human safety and power outages.
- Western Canada: Canada broke a national heat record on June 27, when the temperature in a small town in British Columbia hit nearly 116 degrees Fahrenheit, breaking an 84-year-old record of nearly 3 degrees, with the weather dangerously low. hot which should continue for several more days. .
- Pacific Northwest United States: A thermal dome enveloped the region, bringing temperatures to extreme levels – with temperatures well above 100 degrees – and creating dangerous conditions in a part of the country unaccustomed to oppressive summer conditions or air conditioning.
- Severe drought: Much of the western half of the United States is in the grip of a severe drought of historic proportions. Conditions are especially bad in California and the Southwest, but the drought is spreading across the Pacific Northwest, much of the Intermountain West, and even the northern plains. Extreme heat worsens dry conditions.
- Growing energy shortages: Power outages have increased by more than 60% since 2015, even as climate change has worsened heat waves, according to a new study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.
- Reference temperatures are increasing: New benchmarks for temperature, rain, snow and other weather events reveal how the climate has changed in the United States. A key point to remember, the country is getting hotter and hotter.
It’s all part of a global warming trend: The hottest seven years in the history of accurate global record keeping were the last seven, and 19 of the hottest 20 years were produced since 2000. An analysis by the Copernicus Climate Change Service, a group of European climate researchers, found that the hottest year on record was 2020, on par with 2016.
Several school districts in British Columbia were closed on Monday as many buildings lack air conditioning. Temperatures rarely exceed 86 degrees Fahrenheit in Vancouver, Phillips said.
The British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority, a state-owned utility company, posted consecutive record high electricity use on Saturday and Sunday, with a few local power outages reported throughout the system, the company said. Provincial state in a press release Monday. .
On social media, people posted chilling photos of their pets with ice packs, install water trays for birds or completely avoid the sun.
In a weather alert for metro Vancouver on Monday, Environment Canada warned that temperatures could reach 44 degrees Celsius, or 111 degrees Fahrenheit, during the day.
“The duration of this heat wave is concerning as there is little relief at night with high nighttime temperatures,” he wrote, advising local residents to navigate the “record heat” by drinking plenty of water and avoiding leaving people and pets in a parked vehicle.
He also advised residents to watch out for heat sickness symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, nausea, and decreased urination.
Henri fountain contributed reports.