Environment Canada issues heat warning for Saskatoon, Moose Jaw, La Loche

·2 min read
Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for much of western Saskatchewan. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press - image credit)
Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for much of western Saskatchewan. (Charlie Riedel/Associated Press - image credit)

A wave of hot air is building across Saskatchewan this week, and people are being warned to take special care to avoid the heat.

On Tuesday, Environment Canada issued a heat warning for a large section of western Saskatchewan, including La Loche, the Battlefords, Prince Albert, Maple Creek, Moose Jaw and Saskatoon.

For most of the week, temperatures are expected to rise above 30 C, bringing a risk of heat stroke and heat exhaustion.

"We actually have a ridge of high pressure that runs down through Western Canada," said Environment Canada meteorologist James Colangelo.  "We've got some hot air coming up from the southwest with that system."

While there is expected to be a brief respite on Wednesday, daytime highs are expected to stay above 30 C until Monday.

As a result, the public is being asked to take special care, especially high risk people, such as outside workers and people with health conditions.

Hot city

The City of Saskatoon has activated its extreme heat response plan to help deal with the situation.

Cooling locations have been set up across the city, and wellness checks and water bottle distribution is being organized for homeless people, who are especially at risk because they don't have many options to escape the heat.

"The primary bulk of our cool-down locations are based at locations that are easily accessible to those who don't have a vehicle or anything along those lines," said Brenna Sych, a spokesperson for the Saskatoon Housing Initiatives Partnership, one of the agencies involved with the city's heat plan.

"Places like Prairie Harm Reduction, Out Saskatoon that already provide services for those that are vulnerable — people can also use them to get out of the heat."

Environment Canada
Environment Canada

The City of Saskatoon says it is expanding the heat response plan to include seniors living in private homes.

The decision was made after reviewing the heat-dome incident in British Columbia in 2021, where 619 people are believed to have died as a direct result of temperatures that remained above 40 C for seven days.

A report found two-thirds of those heat-related deaths were among people aged 70 and older, while more than 80 per cent of those who died were on three or more chronic disease registries.

Right now, the city is working with the Saskatchewan Health Authority and cultural groups in the Saskatoon to provide lists of seniors who may need help.

The seniors will be checked on to make sure their needs are being met. The groups will be provided with a checklist of warning signs to look out for.

The Emergency Management Organization said it is still looking to partner with other groups in the community. Any interested groups are asked to contact the organization.

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