Heat wave to make its way across Western Canada, could reach Sask. Monday

Record-breaking heat soon to grip parts of Western Canada is expected to make its way toward Saskatchewan in the coming days.

'Huge ridge of upper high pressure is building,' warns Environment Canada

Western parts of Saskatchewan could see a heat wave beginning Monday. (Charles Contant/CBC)

Record-breaking heat soon to grip parts of Western Canada is expected to make its way toward Saskatchewan in the coming days.

This cause is a "heat dome" moving in from the Pacific Ocean to the coast of British Columbia. Environment and Climate Change Canada Meteorologist Terri Lang said this dome is created by "a huge ridge of upper high pressure" that will strengthen as it builds over Western Canada.

Areas of B.C. will see record-breaking heat, with temperatures into the mid 40s this week. As the system moves across Alberta the temperatures will be in the mid to high 30s.

Lang said Saskatchewan is "on the edge of this ridge, so western parts of Saskatchewan will be hotter than eastern sections." She said it won't feel like a burst of heat, but rather a more gradual onset. The current long range forecast is calling for temperatures to be consistently into the low 30s for about seven days, starting on Monday.

Unusual for this time of year

"These ridges of high pressure are not unusual and they set up a couple of times every summer.  What is unusual is how early this pattern has set up," Lang said.

Heat waves such as these are typical in the back end of July and August, whereas June is generally cooler and wetter.

'The air in the heat dome itself is very dry and very stable,' says Lang. (Mark Milleker, Regina )

Risk of Severe Weather

"The heat acts like a big dome – weather patterns are deflected up and over it," Lang said. "The air in the dome itself is very dry and very stable, meaning there are generally no clouds, no thunderstorms, no precipitation under the dome." 

Lang said that during heat waves such as these, we see "dry thunderstorms," which are storms that produces lightning but no rain. These can cause forest fires.

Drought risk rises

The rapid drying will deplete any moisture that remains from the rain received earlier in the month. Areas along the southern border of Saskatchewan in both the southeast and southwest are already in an "extreme drought risk."

"Research indicates that the health effects of heat build up over time. The longer the event goes on, the more effects there are to our health," Lang said. 

Try to avoid activities in the hottest parts of the day, which are usually around 4 to 5 p.m., hydrate constantly, seek cool places and take extra caution for children, the elderly and your pets.