Canada has recorded its highest ever temperature as the country’s west and the US Pacific north-west frazzle in an unprecedented heatwave. Lytton in British Columbia soared to 46.6°C (116°F) on Sunday, breaking an 84-year-old record.
Lytton, which is about 150 miles (250km) north-east of Vancouver, surged past the previous Canadian record. That was set in two towns in Saskatchewan – Yellow Grass and Midale – back in July 1937 at a balmy 45°C (113°F).
Lytton was not alone. More than 40 other spots in British Columbia set new records.
The devastating heat dome
A “heat dome” of high pressure parked over the region has set new records in many other areas.
The US and Canada have both warned citizens of “dangerous” heat levels that could persist this week.
The high pressure zone is huge, from California right up to Canada’s Arctic territories and stretching inland through Idaho.
Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV: “I like to break a record, but this is like shattering and pulverising them. It’s warmer in parts of western Canada than in Dubai.”
He said there was a chance of topping 47°C somewhere.
British Columbia’s power providers said there had been a surge in demand for electricity to keep air-conditioners running.
Environment Canada said Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, should also be on alert.
In its warning, it forecast a “prolonged, dangerous, and historic heatwave will persist through this week,” with temperatures 10°C-15°C above normal, at near 40°C in many places.
Unprecedented heat in US north-west
The Pacific north-west has also been breaking records, particularly in parts of Washington and Oregon states.
The US National Weather Service called the heatwave conditions “historic” and said they would persist through the week, “with numerous daily, monthly and even all-time records likely to be set.”
Seattle and Portland, often the target of jokes about rainy climates, could be among those setting their hottest temperatures on Monday. Both have already surpassed 40°C.
Oregon eased Covid attendance restrictions to open up swimming pools and air-conditioned areas like shopping centres. But Seattle in Washington had to close one pool because of “unsafe, dangerous pool deck temperatures.”
Fruit growers have been rushing to pick crops, fearing the heat could shrivel cherries and other fruit. Pickers have been starting at dawn and stopping at lunchtime in the unbearable temperatures.
BJ Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers, told the Seattle Times: “We are travelling in absolutely uncharted waters.”
The US track and field Olympic qualifying trials had to be halted in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday, as the crowd was told to leave the stadium for safety reasons.
Some areas along the coast could cool a little later in the week, but Boise, Idaho, could see a week of 40°C+ temperatures. The National Weather Service said parts of the state could suffer “one of the most extreme and prolonged heatwaves in the recorded history of the Inland Northwest.”
The warnings for all were to stay hydrated, avoid strenuous activities, and check on vulnerable neighbours.
It’s certainly looking like a climate emergency. [BBC]
Now subscribe to this blog to get more amazing news curated just for you right in your inbox on a daily basis (here an example of our new newsletter).
You should really subscribe to QFiles. You will get very interesting information about strange events around the world.