Heat warnings cover most of B.C., as records set, Metro Vancouver air quality falls

·2 min read

VANCOUVER — Ongoing heat warnings cover most of British Columbia and Environment Canada says the sweltering conditions have toppled more than a dozen daily temperature records.

Fourteen records were set around the province on Tuesday, from Prince Rupert to Bella Bella, Ashcroft and across the Fraser Valley and south coast.

The oldest record to fall was in the Agassiz area of the Fraser Valley, where the mercury hit 36.5 C, almost one degree higher than the previous record set in 1899.

B.C. also claimed the top seven hottest locations in the country on Tuesday, including Lytton, which was the hot spot in Canada at 40.2 C.

It's the first time this year that B.C. has officially seen the heat climb above 40 C, although the scorcher was not a record for Lytton, which set the country's all-time high temperature of 49.6 C last year, one day before a wildfire destroyed the village.

In addition to heat warnings of temperatures up to 41 C for much of the central and southern Interior, and conditions only slightly cooler elsewhere in B.C., the weather office is maintaining air quality advisories for eastern parts of Metro Vancouver, the lower Fraser Valley and the Fraser Canyon.

Forecasters say sunlight is reacting with pollutants to create high concentrations of ground level ozone east of Vancouver, potentially causing breathing difficulties for pregnant people, children, outside workers or anyone with conditions such as lung disease or asthma.

Smoke from a nearly 24-square kilometre wildfire burning northwest of Lytton has also prompted Environment Canada to maintain a smoky skies bulletin for the Fraser Canyon.

The agency says air conditions, especially over eastern Metro Vancouver, likely won't improve until after the weekend.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published July 27, 2022.

The Canadian Press

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