The B.C. government is encouraging residents to prepare for potential heat waves now as forecasts headed into the weekend and final week of July promise some higher than usual temperatures.
A notice it issued Tuesday (July 19) evening preempts any actual warnings, which will only be issued if the weather for a region in B.C. is set to hit abnormally hot daytime highs and nighttime lows for at least two days straight.
If Environment Canada’s forecast holds true, a couple parts of B.C. could hit the warning threshold by next week.
Kamloops, for example, is set to experience a 36 C high and 18 C low on Monday (July 25). As part of the Southeast/Interior region, the city only has to see a daytime high of 35 C and nighttime low of 18 C for two days to trigger a warning.
In the Northeast, the threshold is a daytime high of 29 C and nighttime low of 14 C. Terrace is expected to surmount those on Tuesday (July 26).
Ahead of the potential heat, B.C. is encouraging people to map out a plan. This, the government says, should include identifying cool places to go both inside and outside people’s homes, such a community centres and libraries. Cool showers and increased hydration can also help, the government says.
People are also encouraged to identify any vulnerable family members or community members who they should check on and help out.
As a result of 2021’s heat dome, 619 people died, the BC Coroners Service found. Of them, the majority were over 70 years old or had contributing health conditions.
More than 90 per cent of people who died were found without air conditioning and 76 per cent were found without a fan, according to a BC Coroners Service report. It made numerous recommendations for the government to increase access to cooling devices for vulnerable populations, but the province isn’t expected to address the issue until next summer.
The province has released an Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide, which provides tips on how to stay safe. It also announced the BC Heat Alert and Response System in June, which will trigger warnings when regional temperature thresholds are met and Amber Alerts if those temperatures are expected to last beyond three days.
B.C. is currently only anticipating potential warnings in the coming days. People are encouraged to monitor Environment and Climate Change Canada for temperature forecasts in their region.
Find a cooling centre near you: https://www.emergencyinfobc.gov.bc.ca/find-a-cooling-centre-near-you/
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather alerts: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
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