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Weather alert lifted, but heat still on for Okanagan-Shuswap: Environment Canada

Environment Canada meteorologist says we’re not quite out of the woods yet
A family enjoys their ice cream in the heat in downtown Kelowna on Monday, July 27. (Aaron Hemens - Capital News)

Environment Canada has lifted the heat warning for the Okanagan-Shuswap as the heat dome has passed, but that doesn’t mean we’re in the clear yet.

Meteorologist Doug Lundquist said temperatures might be “cooler” compared to the mid to high 40s we were experiencing during the heatwave. However, the forecast from Thursday into the next week is still mid to high 30s during the days, with nighttime temperatures in the high teens, especially in downtown Kelowna.

But he said there have been enough cool nights that Environment Canada felt it could lift the warning. Despite the ongoing high 30s, he said another heat wave event seems unlikely within the next ten days though they may have to reissue the warning for a day or two when temperatures rise.

Part of the forecast is some showers and lightning.

“The showers we’ll get won’t replenish the dryness we’ve had, but it is a concern as this can start more fires,” Lundquist said.

This summer is highly unusual, according to Lundquist.

“This June was the hottest June we’ve ever had and with high 40s and lows being 30s, and paired with the sustained length of time; it’s very unusual.”

He added that the most important thing is to keep an eye on the vulnerable during this time as the area remains hot.

“Continue to help them and protect them and please never leave a person or an animal in a car with these temperatures,” he said.

“Keep hydrating and remember to wear hats or use umbrellas and stay in the shade when possible.

“The problem is you can still get dehydrated even when it’s ‘cooler’ like this. Sometimes we don’t notice we’re sweating and it’s evaporating because it’s not as hot, so keep up with your water intake. Try not to drink alcohol as much.”

Lundquist added that with wildfires in the province, smoke will eventually affect air quality, which may be a lot for the elderly and young children, coupled with the heat.

He said it’s important to have a strategy for dealing with both the heat and the smoke.

“You may need to keep wearing masks while outdoors just to protect you from smoke. But if you can avoid it altogether, try that option.”

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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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