‘Moderate risk’: Warnings issued as British Columbia braces for approaching heatwave

Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for parts of Vancouver Island and the interior of British Columbia’s coast as the province braces for a heat wave.

The weather bureau says a high pressure area forming over the west coast will bring “very high temperatures” from Friday into next week.

The first set of warnings applies to eastern Vancouver Island, including Courtenay, Campbell River, Duncan, Nanaimo, Fanny Bay and other nearby communities.

According to the bulletin, the daytime temperature in those areas will be around 30 degrees Celsius, and at night around 16 degrees Celsius.

Another warning is in place for the inland parts of the north and central coast, including Kitimat and Terrace. According to the weather bureau, daytime temperatures there are expected to remain around 30 degrees Celsius from Saturday until Tuesday evening.

Environment Canada said the heat poses a “moderate risk” to public health before the forecast returns to more seasonal temperatures later next week.

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“Right now it looks like (next) Wednesday is the day for a change in the air mass,” said Armel Castellan, a meteorologist who works on warning preparation at the agency.

He said the province is divided into five regions based on their typical climatology, and each region has different criteria for activating a heat warning.

In the northwest, it will last two days or more, with daytime highs of 28 degrees Celsius or higher and nighttime temperatures of 13 degrees Celsius, Castellan said in an interview.

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But to trigger a heat warning, temperatures in parts of the southern interior would need to rise to 35 degrees Celsius for two days, with a minimum temperature of 18 degrees Celsius at night.

Click to play the video: 'BC evening weather report: July 4'

BC Evening Weather Forecast: July 4

“Vancouver itself would be 29 degrees for two days and 16 degrees at night,” Castellan said of the heat alert criteria in the province’s most populous city.

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A special weather warning is also in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, where above-average temperatures are expected well into next week.

The Vancouver weather forecast predicts daytime highs of 26°C on Sunday and Monday.

According to Environment Canada’s weather forecast, temperatures in Kamloops, British Columbia, will rise to 40 degrees Celsius on Monday and Tuesday, followed by 39 degrees Celsius on Wednesday.

In the northern community of Fort Nelson, BC, daytime highs of 28C to 30C are expected from Sunday through next Wednesday. The entire community was evacuated for more than two weeks in the spring due to the threat of an early wildfire.

British Columbia’s heat warning and response system is the result of the work of a committee established in January 2022 to help the province respond to extreme heat.

It was a result of the deadly heatwave in the summer of 2021, when temperatures in many areas exceeded 40 degrees Celsius between June 25 and July 1.

The BC Coroners Service reported 619 heat-related deaths that summer.

Castellan said the current heat wave will be different because temperatures are not expected to exceed heat warning criteria by much.

On Wednesday, he said he expects Environment Canada to issue additional warnings as the heat moves from west to east across the province.

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The agency said the risks associated with heat are greater for older people and people with conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and mental health problems.

The heat warnings encourage people to be alert for signs of heat illness, such as heavy sweating, rashes and fainting, and to contact friends and neighbors who may be at greater risk, especially if they live alone.

According to the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control, heat waves are expected to become “more frequent, longer and warmer” in the province due to climate change.

Click to play video: 'Special weather warning issued due to heat in British Columbia'

Special Weather Warning Issued Due to Heat in BC Forecast

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