It was certainly a day to celebrate on Monday, as Canada marked its 146th anniversary, but out in British Columbia, Alberta and even northern Saskatchewan, it was a day to consider sticking to indoor activities. Afternoon temperatures soared across Western Canada, and in some places broke July 1st records going back nearly 90 years.
B.C.'s Okanagan Valley saw the highest temperatures and broke the most July 1st records for the day. Some places, like Clinton where it reached 33.5°C, beat fairly recent records (31.6°C from 2008). Others, like Sparwood and Dawson Creek broke records set in the mid-80s, while Prince George went all the way back to the early 40s. The 'winner', though, was Merritt, where it got up to a high of 36.7°C for the day, beating a record of 35.0 degrees set back in 1924!
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Areas of coastal BC weren't to be left out, as Pitt Meadows, Squamish and Whistler beat July 1st records from the mid-90s, and Power River broke its previous record from 1965. Abbotsford actually broke its second record in two days, getting up to 33.3°C on Sunday, beating a 33.0°C record from June 30th, 1995, and then reaching 29.5°C degrees on Monday to beat out the previous record of 29.4°C from July 1st, 1967.
The highest temperature for the day in B.C. was in Lytton, where it reached 40°C, but the all-time highest temperature there (and indeed apparently in the history of the province), was 44.4°C set back on July 1st, 1941.
On the other side of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta was setting some records of its own. Weather stations through central and northern parts of the province recorded temperatures that broke records from as recently as 2006 and 2004 in the case of Edmonton and Fort McMurray, but as for the oldest, 1924 was again the year to beat, as Banff exceeded that year's record of 31.1°C by reaching 31.5°C yesterday.
Even northern Saskatchewan got into the act too, as temperatures there reached up into the low 30s, and following along with the rest of the west, the oldest record broken was again from 1924. It got up to 31.5 degrees in Collins Bay, breaking the old July 1st record of 28.3, set 89 years ago.
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Will these areas get up to an official heat wave? It's still too early to tell, as we'll have to see the official temperatures from the B.C. Interior later today.
However, until then, Alberta has its own worries. There's a humidex advisory in effect for much of the province, with temperatures expected in the low-to-mid-30s, but with humid air pushing in from the United States that's going to make that feel closer to 40 degrees. Adding to that, as cooler air sweeps in tonight to bring some relief from the heat, it's also going to bring the chance of severe thunderstorms across central and northern regions. Severe thunderstorm watches are in effect, and those may be upgraded to warnings as the day progresses.
(Photo courtesy: The Canadian Press)
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