B.C., Pacific Northwest set for record-breaking June heatwave

Extreme heat will grip the Lower Mainland and Pacific Northwest this weekend. Kier Junos reports on why some meteorologists think it could be one of the hottest stretches of weather in our region’s history.

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Soaring temperatures forecast for the Pacific Northwest — including B.C. — this weekend could shatter the 123-year-old record for the hottest day recorded in June in Vancouver.

The worst heat will stretch Saturday through Monday, with temperatures in the mid-30s.

The previous record for June scorcher was 30.6 degrees.

Robert Henson, is a meteorologist in Colorado. He says the region is set for one of the worst heatwaves in history — which is concerning given that summer has barely begun.

“Your heat waves tend to peak in July and say, into August. And here we are, still in late June,” he says.

“You don’t want to toy around with heat like this. It can be fatal, even at latitudes of the such you’re at. Check on folks, if there are folks you know who are maybe older or not very communicative, or might be cooped up in an apartment for several days. The heat builds up, right? And if you can’t get the heat out of your structure, then it can get uncomfortably hot not only in the day but at night, and by the same token, your body doesn’t get a chance to cool down.”

NEWS 1130 Meteorologist Michael Kuss says there are other things that make the forecast conditions uniquely concerning.

“The UV Index this time of year is incredibly high, pushing extreme, and that’s what we often don’t see when we get into late July early August, the combination of the temperatures and the very high UV indices, because the sun angle is a little bit lower as we get into the heart of summer,” he explains.

“It’s not only the daytime highs which are going to be up there in the 30s, it’s the overnight lows, when it only gets down to 18 or 20 degrees, that’s really unusual. We don’t get that cool off, that cooler stretch through the early parts of the day that we’re so accustomed to around here.”

Worksafe B.C. says there have been about 100 claims related to heat stress injuries in the last three years — and people working in the heat need to remember to take precautions.

“If you’re not taking care and managing your fluid intakes as well as staying cool, taking breaks to stay cool, you can run into dizziness, nausea, muscle cramps, fainting,” says Barry Nakahara, senior manager prevention field services.

And Henson says more heat like this is definitely something we likely need to get ready to see more of.

“I think this is a harbinger of the kind of thing to expect more of with time. You can’t ever say a heatwave is 100 per cent climate change, because weather happens, right? But that extra smidgen of heat on top of what would be a normal heatwave — that’s what I like to think of as a change in climate.”

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