High humidity in Metro Vancouver could make weather feel hotter, says CBC meteorologist

·3 min read
People pictured in the shade during a period of hot weather in Vancouver on Monday. Heat warnings continued across British Columbia on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
People pictured in the shade during a period of hot weather in Vancouver on Monday. Heat warnings continued across British Columbia on Tuesday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

Heat warnings that continued to impact most of British Columbia on Tuesday are expected to last until Saturday.

Environment Canada says a strong ridge of high pressure is responsible for this week's heat wave, with daytime temperatures expected to peak between Wednesday and Friday.

According to the federal agency, daytime high temperatures in Metro Vancouver will range from 31 to 35 C inland and 25 to 29 C near the water.

The temperatures are even higher in the B.C. Interior. Across the Okanagan, South Thompson and Kootenays, daytime temperatures could be as high as 40 C.

Temperatures in northern B.C., such as Prince George, the Cariboo and the Bulkley Valley, are forecast to be slightly lower, with highs of 34 C.

Interior Health Medical Health Officer Dr. Silvena Mema said on Monday that the health authority is working closely with its partners to make sure vulnerable populations across the authority's jurisdiction have a cool space to stay, and it has also been looking at the possibility of building an inventory of cool places for people to find relief from the heat.

Kelowna deputy fire chief Sandra Follack, who is also the emergency program co-ordinator for the Regional District of Central Okanagan, says the City of Kelowna is still waiting on demand for the cooling centres before it decides to open any.

"People do have the ability to go to … the water parks, find areas to cool off, going to the beach when the emergencies come through Interior Health," she said on CBC's Daybreak South. "When they identify that we should be opening the cooling centres because the need is greater, then we will put out the notifications of opening them."

Winston Szeto/CBC
Winston Szeto/CBC

Linda Stride, the City of Kamloops's recreation, health and wellness supervisor, says the city has used the Sandman Centre sport facility as a cooling centre. She also agrees that people can go to a beach or a water park for relief from the heat.

"We're just wanting to remind our citizens that even going to a park or a water park, [or] going to parks that have trees seeking shelter in those areas, is better than staying in your home if you have no air conditioning," she said on CBC's Daybreak Kamloops.

Environment Canada says the hottest time of the day will be from late afternoon to early evening, with the coolest time of day near sunrise.

CBC meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe says humidity could make it feel like 40 C in some parts of Metro Vancouver on Tuesday.

Environment Canada's data shows Vancouver recording a relative humidity of 77 per cent on Tuesday, compared to 32 per cent in Kelowna, 33 per cent in Kamloops and 52 per cent in Prince George.

The federal agency says risks of heat-related illness are higher for young children, pregnant women, senior citizens and people with chronic illnesses. It advises people to be on the lookout for signs of heat illness, including rash, cramps and fainting.

Kim Dixon, the executive director of senior services non-profit James Bay New Horizons, asks people to check in more often with their neighbours, particularly those who are elderly.

"See if there's anything they need — if you're going up to the store, take them down. Even a glass of ice water with fresh ice cubes in lemon, or even lemonade or an iced tea," he said on CBC's On The Island. "Take time to get to know your neighbours and check up on them in a kind way."

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