B.C.'s extended summer breaks more records — but rain is finally on the way, weather office says
New daily temperature records were set in 25 B.C. communities on Sunday; showers forecast for Friday
Several cities in British Columbia boasted the warmest temperatures in the country on the weekend as summer-like weather persists across most of the province — but Environment Canada says a change is coming.
Daily maximum temperature records were set in 25 B.C. communities on Sunday, including in Port Alberni, the provincial hot spot at 26.3 C, where a 115-year-old record was shattered by 3 C.
The weather office says other records for the day were set along the south, central and north coasts, and through the central Interior and southeastern B.C.
Many regions of the province have had no rain in October and no significant precipitation since early July, prompting severe drought conditions, but forecasters say many areas could get showers by Friday — and the Fort Nelson area could possibly see flurries of snow.
Areas expected to get rain Friday include the South Coast, where the air could be cleansed of the wildfire smoke that's prompted air quality advisories across Vancouver Island, Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, as well as the Peace and Similkameen regions.
Wildfires in southern B.C. and Washington state, as well as a large blaze in northeastern B.C. that has been burning since the end of August, are blamed for causing the murky skies.
Michael Brauer, a professor with UBC's school of population and public health, said he's concerned about the health impacts of longer wildfire, and therefore wildfire smoke, seasons.
"What's happening now as a result of climate change is that the wildfire smoke period is lengthening, could extend from April to October. This is really unprecedented for our region," he said.
Brauer said people may have to consider changing their lifestyles to adapt to poor air quality, including moving vacations to spring or fall, changes in school calendars to keep kids in safe places on smokey days.
He added that even if B.C., does a great job at managing wildfires, the province is affected by neighbouring states.
"This is not going to get better," he said.
With files from Johanna Wagstaffe, Chad Pawson and The Canadian Press