The hot and dry weather conditions expected to blanket B.C. this long weekend are a rare treat that could break record temperatures set more than 75 years ago, says Environment Canada senior climatologist Dave Phillips.
Phillips said he will be watching places such as Lytton and Lillooet, where the hottest temperatures ever recorded in B.C. were set in 1941 when the mercury hit 44.4 C.
"This is Phoenix air coming northward. Temperatures could very well see 40, 42 degrees in the Interior," he said.
The July 1 heat wave is rare for B.C., and comes at the end of a weeklong wet spell Phillips calls the "June gloom."
"Typically about, you know, four out of every five July 1sts are wet, and temperatures can be a little on the cool side," he said. "To get a temperature above 27 and dry, about once in 76 years. What a great end to this wet spell. It's really extreme, in a way."
Environment Canada reports a ridge of high pressure now moving over the centre of the province, which will bump up temperatures on the coast and in the Interior.
Across B.C. beginning Sunday, afternoon temperatures will rise by a few degrees each day, peaking at nearly 40 C in some areas on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the sun, Phillips said, it could be seven or eight degrees hotter.
Vancouver's warmest ever July 1 was in 1942 when temperatures soared to 30.6 C.
A dome of heat and humidity is building for the southern half of the province, just in time for the long weekend, says CBC News meteorologist Johanna Wagstaffe.
Lingering moisture in the atmosphere will make for a cloudy start to Saturday for the South Coast, but skies should clear up nicely by the afternoon.
By Sunday, the heat and humidity will start to build for the Lower Mainland with temperatures reaching the mid-to-high 20s. On Canada Day the heat will really surge, probably breaking daily temperature records.
The heat will be even more extreme for the B.C. Interior, where temperatures will start to peak in the low 40s on Sunday, lasting right through to Thursday.
This heat is being forced north from the southwestern U.S. desert states where temperatures are challenging heat records in Nevada, with daily highs close to 50 C.
Conditions will linger through Tuesday before the hot spell breaks on Wednesday.