An area of intense high pressure parked over B.C., Alberta, and the U.S Pacific Northwest this week, smashing heat records and leading to widespread cancellations and delays.
Along with the heat, the high pressure kept the skies clear and eliminating the possibility of precipitation. Cooler temperatures are on the way to some affected areas, but hot and dry conditions are expected to persist for the remainder of the season.
Here's a breakdown of the recent heat event, by the numbers.
Warning: This was a devastating heat event with measurable health impacts. Some of the statistics referenced below involve heat-related deaths.
8,516 (megawatts): BC Hydro saw record-breaking electricity demands three days in a row, peaking Tuesday at 8,516 megawatts. That replaces the previous record by more than 600 megawatts. For some perspective, adding 600 megawatts is the equivalent of turning on 600,000 portable air conditioners, BC Hydro says in a press release.
2,000 (dollars): Before the historic heat event, only about 40 per cent of B.C residents had air conditioning. The recent conditions caused a spike in sales and prices, the Daily Hive reports, with the asking price for some units at $2,000, approximately 10 times their usual retail value.
1,850: On Saturday, B.C. set a new record for number of emergency dispatches at 1,850, Global News reports. While not all were related to the heat, the vast majority were, resulting in a strain on health care services and forcing some residents to wait hours for a ride to the hospital.
700: On Sunday, about 700 customers in B.C.'s Lower Mainland lost power, hours before record-breaking heat was expected to seize the area. While not all outages were heat-related, BC Hydro spokesperson Mora Scott told CTV News the conditions "certainly played a factor." About 7,400 people were without power Thursday in Vernon, but officials said that outage likely wasn't due to the heat - but regardless of the cause, a lack of electricity is concerning during any heat event and especially during one of this magnitude.
195 (per cent): The unrelenting heat had a major impact on the health of residents, particularly older people and those with pre-existing health conditions. Between last Friday and Wednesday, the BC Coroners Service saw a 195 per cent increase in the number of unexpected and sudden deaths it typically sees in a five-day period. During that time, 486 deaths were reported. That number is usually closer to 165, officials say.
47.9 (degrees Celsius): Lytton, B.C. broke Canada's all-time heat record during this event, peaking at 47.9°C Monday.
Records were broken in Alberta as well:
15: The extreme heat prompted fifteen school districts to cancel classes in B.C. Monday, the CBC reports.
10 (degrees): The widespread heat was at least 10 degrees above seasonal temperatures in many locales.