Calgary

Air Quality Health Index hits 10+ in Calgary due to smoke from B.C. wildfires

After Calgarians experienced the hottest-ever day on record Friday — with the mercury hitting a high of 36.5 C according to Environment Canada — smoke from wildfires in B.C. blanketed the city on Saturday, sending the Air Quality Health Index to a 10+, or very high risk by 7 a.m.

Low pressure system moving into province expected to bring even more smoke on Saturday

Smoke from wildfires in B.C. is blanketing much of the province. (CBC)

From intense heat one day to intense smoke the next.

After Calgarians experienced the hottest-ever day on record Friday — with the mercury hitting a high of 36.5 C, according to Environment Canada — smoke from wildfires in B.C. blanketed the city on Saturday, sending the Air Quality Health Index to a 10+, or very high risk by 7 a.m.

The index dropped to a 7 — or moderate to high risk — by 10 a.m., but is expected to go back up throughout the day.

By 3 p.m., the Air Quality Health Index had dropped to 4, or moderate risk.  

"There's a low pressure system that's set to develop in Alberta later [Saturday], as that develops, more of the smoke will be brought into the province," said Environment Canada meteorologist Alysa Pederson.

"But then as that system moves through overnight and through Sunday, it should improve conditions."

Air quality advisories were issued for most of the province.

"If you're more prone to breathing issues, shortness of breath, headaches, throat irritation, those kinds of things," said Pederson.

"When you're in a high or even moderate risk, even the healthiest population could see some of those symptoms. Stay inside and try and keep yourself busy."

The low pressure system is expected to bring rainfall to the Banff, Canmore and Jasper areas Saturday afternoon, which could reach Calgary overnight. 

Environment Canada issued severe thunderstorm warnings for Banff and Nordegg at 3 p.m. 

The agency said the storms were capable of producing strong wind gusts, up to nickel-sized hail and heavy rain.

Dozens of fires are currently burning in B.C. with smoke reaching as far east as Manitoba.

Saturday's high in Calgary is forecast for 24 C and Sunday's high is forecast at 18 C.

The hot weather is expected to return to Alberta later this week with Calgary forecast to reach 27 C on Thursday and Friday. 

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