British Columbia

Records fall as heat wave bakes B.C. — and it's only going to get hotter, forecasters say

A heat wave has officially descended upon much of B.C., already establishing itself as a record-breaker days before its anticipated peak this weekend.

Temperatures expected to be up to 10 C higher than normal across much of the province

A busy Kitsilano Beach in Vancouver on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC)

A heat wave has officially descended upon much of B.C. and has already established itself as a record-breaker days before its anticipated peak this weekend.

The scorching weather broke three daytime temperature records in the Lower Mainland on Sunday. The town of Hope hit 32.5 C, exceeding the old June 20 record of 30.9 C, while Squamish surpassed its old benchmark of 29.7 C at 30.2 C.

White Rock peaked at 28.7 C, breaking the old record of 27.2 C set in 1938.

The pattern is going to repeat itself on Monday and will persist into Tuesday, according to Environment Canada. The agency said Wednesday will be slightly cooler, serving as a short-lived respite before a blazing hot weekend.

"Going toward the latter part of the week and into the weekend, we see a really strong ridge of high pressure over B.C. and we're going to get back into some really hot days," said meteorologist Alyssa Charbonneau.

"This pattern is something we're going to see pretty much across British Columbia," she continued. "Right now, looks like Friday to Sunday are some of the hottest days ... lots of places seeing temperatures above 10 degrees higher than normal."

Temperatures in Vancouver are forecast to hit 28 C on Saturday. Victoria is expected to reach 30 C that day, while Kelowna could peak at 38 C. Areas further north, like Prince George, have a high of 33 C in the weekend forecast.

Stewart Cohen, a retired climatologist after 35 years with Environment and Climate Change Canada, says climate change is contributing to a much warmer summer across the B.C. Interior this year. 

"This is what we have right now — we have human-caused climate change, making a moderate drought turn into a super mega drought," he said Monday to Chris Walker, the host of CBC's Daybreak South. "We have a warmer climate because of greenhouse gases. It's making droughts worse, dryer and it's making heat waves also worse."

Charbonneau said parts of the North Coast will be the only areas spared the heat.

She said it will be important this week to use sun protection, stay hydrated, check on elderly family members and keep pets and children out of hot vehicles.

"It's going to be a real stretch of summer-like weather, so keep that in mind as you make those plans," she said.

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