British Columbia

Another heat wave forecast for B.C.'s South Coast with temperatures set to climb into upper 30s

Residents in B.C. will see temperatures climb into the upper 30s again this week with a high pressure system forecast to bring another heat wave by Wednesday afternoon.

Temperatures will start to climb on Wednesday afternoon and will last until Saturday

Andrej, 10, plays at a spray park in Vancouver on Monday, June 28, 2021. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

Residents in B.C. will see temperatures climb into the upper 30s again this week with a high pressure system forecast to bring another heat wave by Wednesday afternoon.

It will be the third time this year extreme temperatures have blanketed the province, creating challenging conditions for firefighters battling the hundreds of wildfires burning across B.C.

"Along the coast, we're looking at temperatures in the upper 20s of daytime highs on Thursday and Friday and then mid 30s," said Environment Canada meteorologist, Bobby Sekhon.

"In the southern Interior ... temperatures will likely be in the mid to high 30s on Friday and Saturday."

Heat warnings have been issued on Tuesday for much of Vancouver Island as well as Metro Vancouver and a special weather statement is in effect for the province's southern and southeastern communities, as the high pressure system is expected to bring in smoke from the nearby wildfires.

Sekhon said temperatures will slowly start to climb by Wednesday afternoon into the evening but the hottest days of the week will be Thursday to Saturday, with temperatures near or above 35 C. He said some areas in the province could feel more like 40 C.

A large umbrella blocks the sun from a woman sitting on the sidewalk in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

"It's about five to 10 degrees above average range," he said, "So for places like Kamloops ... temperatures are forecasted to be 37 degrees by Saturday."

This week's heat won't be nearly as hot as the record-shattering temperatures in June that saw more than 500 people die but it will still be fairly hot with little reprieve overnight.

"Our overnight lows will be in the upper 20s to 17, 18, 19 degrees," Sekhon said, "so yes, we're going to be hot and we are still going to probably see some daily temperature records broken, but we're not expecting it to be as extreme."

Possible dry lightning

More than 22 millimetres of rain fell in Vancouver over the weekend, Sekhon added, and there might be more to come after the high-pressure ridge passes this week.

"We've got a pretty good soaking on Friday night into Saturday," he said. "Whenever a heat wave ends and we transition back to more average temperatures, there's always that concern of ... thunderstorms and dry lightning."

He said as the high pressure ridge breaks down on Saturday and temperatures return to normal on Sunday, precipitation might also be in the forecast.

"It's really hard to say what the breakdown looks like after the ridge goes by," Sekhon said. "But at times, it can bring some precipitation."

Municipalities across the province have set up cooling centres, misting stations and shaded tent areas to help people avoid heat stroke. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

He said as the heat settles in on Wednesday afternoon, smoke from the nearby wildfires in the Interior could affect the air quality in the Lower Mainland on Thursday and Friday.

"There's that chance of smoke coming out, but what the air quality looks like with that is still unknown," Sekhon said.

Municipalities across Metro Vancouver will be opening up cooling centres starting Wednesday, as well as misting areas for people to get away from the heat. Cooling centres will not be opened for 24 hours and will close by around 9 p.m., depending on the location.

In Burnaby, four pop up cooling centres will also be set up near Central Boulevard at MacKay Avenue until about 7 p.m.

Chilliwack has also started its Beat-the-Heat campaign and partnered with about 80 local businesses to help residents seeking temporary relief from the heat.

Libraries, community centres, outdoor shade tents and spray parks will all be opened and available for extended hours as well.

Here's a map of some of the cooling centres in the Lower Mainland and Fraser Valley:

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