Stay cool: Environment Canada issues heat warning for Whistler

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Whistler is expected to experience a high of 34 degrees Celsius on Tuesday, while temperatures will reach 37 degrees Celsius in Pemberton.

With temperatures expected to soar this week, Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for Whistler and other parts of southwestern British Columbia.

The weather agency alerted British Columbians on Monday morning to a heat wave that is expected to push high temperatures in inland regions to 31 to 35 degrees Celsius over the next five days, or 25 to 29 degrees Celsius near some water.

The hottest temperatures will be felt in the late afternoon and early evening, while the early morning lows will be at a much more manageable 15 to 17 degrees Celsius, according to Environment Canada.

Forecasters attribute the onset of the heat wave to a strong ridge of high pressure that will flow into British Columbia this week. Daytime highs are expected to reach Wednesday through Friday, before a “slow cooling trend” begins next weekend.

Whistlerites can expect to see a high of 32 degrees Celsius on Monday, before the mercury rises even further to reach 34 degrees Celsius tomorrow afternoon. The scorching heat will be further amplified in Pemberton, where highs are expected to reach 37 degrees Celsius over the next three days. Across the South Fraser Canyon Coast Range, areas like Lytton could see daytime temperatures soar to as high as 40 degrees Celsius, combined with nighttime lows of 18 to 20 degrees Celsius.

The heat warning is also in effect for Metro Vancouver, Greater Victoria, Fraser Valley, Howe Sound, Sunshine Coast, Southern Gulf Islands, East Vancouver Island and Inland Vancouver Island.

The impending heat wave no doubt brings back memories of the deadly heat dome that slammed into British Columbia just over a year ago in June 2021, killing hundreds and causing a wave of criticism directed at the provincial government for its handling of the event.

Although an extreme heat emergency has not been declared for these areas at this time, Environment Canada and local medical officers of health are warning of the potential effects of extreme heat, and said officials expect see an increase in health and safety risks arising from this situation. heat wave of the week. The public are advised to take precautions and watch for the effects of heat-related illnesses such as swelling, rashes, cramps, fainting, heat exhaustion, heatstroke and worsening of certain existing health problems.

People, including infants and young children, pregnant women, the elderly, especially those over the age of 60, people with chronic illnesses, and people who work or exercise outdoors are more at risk.

Tips from BC doctors for staying cool during a heatwave

With warm temperatures expected to hit the Lower Mainland and surrounding areas in the coming days, “heat stress can pose an immediate danger to our health,” Dr. Emily Newhouse, Fraser Health’s medical officer of health, said in a bulletin.

“It is important that we check with those who are most at risk and who may start to feel unwell as temperatures rise this week. Help them by making sure they are able to stay cool and don’t hesitate to call for medical assistance if needed.

Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) and Fraser Health have teamed up in the wake of the July 25 alert to provide some advice on how to relax and stay safe in the heat.

British Columbians who have the luxury of air conditioning at home should make sure their system is in good working order, while those who don’t should make a plan to find indoor spaces in their community where they can cool off on hot days. Vancouver Coastal Health suggests places like libraries, community centers, movie theaters or shopping malls. “Also, since temperatures can be warmer indoors than outdoors, consider outdoor spaces with plenty of shade and running water,” the bulletin reads.

At home, closing windows and closing curtains and blinds during the heat of the day will help block the sun’s rays and prevent warmer outside air from coming inside. Doors and windows should be opened later in the day, once it gets colder, to help move that cooler air inside.

It is also advisable to have a working fan and this can help draw in cooler air in the late evening, overnight and early morning indoors, but should not be used as the main cooling medium, according to VCH.

Drinking plenty of water, even if you’re not thirsty, spraying water on your body, wearing a damp shirt, or taking a cool shower or bath can also help lessen the effects of the heat. “Take it easy, especially during the hottest hours of the day,” VCH advised.

Residents are encouraged to track temperatures in their homes using a thermostat or thermometer, as sustained indoor temperatures above 31 degrees Celsius can be dangerous for heat-sensitive people.

“If your home gets very hot, consider staying with a friend or relative who has air conditioning if possible,” the health authority advised.

“Identify people who may be at high risk for heat-related illnesses. If possible, help them prepare for the heat and plan to monitor them.”

British Columbians are reminded to call 911 in the event of a medical emergency, but to use this number responsibly to avoid overwhelming the system.

When to call 911

People with heat stroke – usually marked by loss of consciousness, disorientation, confusion, severe nausea or vomiting, or very dark or no urine – are urged to call 911 to get help, as well as anyone with chest pain, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, severe burns, choking, convulsions that won’t stop, drowning, severe allergic reaction, head injury, signs of stroke or major trauma.

Those with less urgent health concerns are instead encouraged to call HealthLinkBC at 811 to speak to a nurse, or go to an urgent care center or clinic if it is safe to do so. “This way, our emergency medical dispatch personnel and paramedics will be available to those who need their services the most,” the VCH bulletin noted.

More information on the health effects of heat, as well as tips and resources to help you stay safe and cool, can be found on the VCH and Fraser Health website.

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