July 17th, 2024

Heat warnings expand in British Columbia as heat wave intensifies

By The Canadian Press on July 7, 2024.

People sit on the bow of a recreational boat anchored on False Creek in Vancouver on July 3, 2024. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

VANCOUVER – Environment Canada says a heat wave that now covers more than 40 regions in British Columbia is intensifying, reaching its peak in some locations.

It says elevated temperatures pose a risk to public health, so people are encouraged to take precautions to minimize exposure.

The heat warnings cover much of the lower third of the province, the northeastern part of B.C., inland sections of the central and norths coasts, as well as east and inland Vancouver Island.

Most regions of the province are expected to see temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, while the southern Interior may see temperatures that push into the low 40s this week.

Environment Canada initially issued about two dozen warnings but expanded – and nearly doubled them – by Sunday.

Among them was Metro Vancouver, which is expected to have daytime temperatures reaching up to the mid-30s inland, and the high 20s near the water.

The City of Vancouver says in a news release that it opened cooling centres in libraries and community centres, and is reminding residents of the more than 200 permanent water fountains that are freely available for use across the city.

It also asked residents to check on vulnerable people, including seniors, people who live alone, those who have pre-existing health conditions or mental illness including substance-use disorders, as well as those who are experiencing homelessness or have limited mobility.

“Guidance from health partners indicates that it may be unsafe for some people at greater risk of heat illness to spend time in indoor temperatures above 26 degrees Celsius,” the release said. “The risk may increase significantly when indoor temperatures are above 31 degrees Celsius.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 7, 2024.

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