British Columbians should take precautions this weekend, as Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for the first hot stretch of the summer for most regions in B.C.
The warmer-than-average temperatures are expected to begin Friday, June 24, and last through June 28, 2022.
Daytime temperatures are expected to rise into the low to mid-30s in the Interior, low 30s in the Lower Mainland and Sea to Sky, and high 20s on Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast. Overnight temperatures are expected to lower down to the low-to-mid teens. (All temperatures in Celsius).
While a heat warning is not in the forecast, the warmer-than-average temperatures may feel intensified in comparison to the cooler-than-normal temperatures experienced throughout B.C. over the past month. It is important that people keep themselves and others safe during warmer than average temperatures. The Province released an Extreme Heat Preparedness Guide earlier in June to help people prepare for extreme heat and share tips on how to stay safe when temperatures rise. The guide is available in French, Punjabi, traditional Chinese and simplified Chinese.
A return of summer conditions is a good time to prepare a heat plan, including identifying cool zones inside and outside of homes (community centres, libraries etc.), knowing ways to cool down, such as taking cool baths or showers and drinking plenty of water, and identifying vulnerable family members and neighbours who are susceptible to heat who should be checked on.
Health authorities are working with care homes to ensure heat plans are in place, as well as community health workers to ensure vulnerable clients are supported. Local authorities and First Nations are prepared to activate their heat plans this summer, which may include setting up cooling centres, distributing bottled water and conducting wellness checks.
With elevated temperatures, the risk of heat-related illnesses increases. Heat illnesses include heat stroke, heat exhaustion, heat fainting, heat edema (swelling of hands, feet and ankles), heat rash and heat cramps (muscle cramps). Watch for symptoms of heat illness, including dizziness or fainting, nausea or vomiting, confusion, headache, rapid breathing and heartbeat, extreme thirst, and decreased urination with unusually dark yellow urine. If someone experiences any of these symptoms during extreme heat, they should immediately move to a cool place, start cooling down and drink liquids. If symptoms are not mild, last longer than one hour, change, worsen or cause concern, they should contact a health-care provider.
Although heat is expected, bodies of water remain cool for this time of year and may pose a risk of hypothermia to people when they are exposed to cold water for a prolonged period of time.
The Province recently announced an extreme heat funding stream for First Nations and local governments under the $189-million Community Emergency Preparedness Fund for extreme heat-risk mapping, assessment and planning.
PreparedBC’s Heat Preparedness Guide: www.preparedbc.ca/extremeheat
Environment and Climate Change Canada’s weather alerts: https://weather.gc.ca/warnings/index_e.html?prov=bc
For more information about the Community Emergency Preparedness Fund, visit the Union of BC Municipalities’ website: https://www.ubcm.ca/funding-programs/local-government-program-services/community-emergency-preparedness-fund
For more information about the BC Heat Alert and Response System: www.bccdc.ca/extremeheat
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