Cooling needed for people and pets as heat dome settles into Sask. for next few weeks
Meteorologist calls this event unprecedented, historic due to its strength and timing
Saskatchewan, along with the rest of Western Canada, is experiencing a severe heat wave that could last for a few weeks. In response to the heat wave, many city organizations in Saskatoon are working together to take care of those in need.
Laura Herman, development and engagement manager at the Friendship Inn, says that when it is this hot, their guests have the same worries as everyone else.
"Many of them are on the street or are couch surfing, they don't necessarily have a cool stable environment to be in," Herman said. "So they very much appreciate that the inn welcomes them in and we have a water service as well."
She says they are giving out roughly 700 water bottles a day during this heat wave. The bottled water service started in the inn last summer as a result of COVID restrictions on water fountains.
It is not just humans that are struggling with the heat. Wyatt Grant, the communications coordinator for the Saskatchewan Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, says on days like today, you do not want to have your pet outside for longer than a ten-minute walk.
"Dogs specifically, they handle heat in a different way than we do," he said. "For humans we sweat and it comes out that way but dogs ... can't cool down as fast as we can."
Grant says the SPCA have received 50 calls so far this year about pets in vehicles. The most calls they have ever received in one year was in 2019. In that year, they received 194 calls.
All-time weather records broken
This week alone has featured a number of days which have broken Canada's all-time hot weather record. Environment and Climate Change Canada meteorologist Terri Lang says in over three decades she has been working, she has not experienced a heatwave like this.
Lang says these kinds of weather patterns typically arrive in July and August but this year it's happening early.
"This one is particularly strong, we've never seen an upper ridge pattern this strong over western Canada ever before," Lang said. "This makes it unprecedented and it makes it historic."
She says we are experiencing a heat dome, not just a heat wave. Lang describes the heat dome as hot air literally sinking from the sky down to the prairies. These recent events follow the pattern of climate change, and the weather patterns we are experiencing now usually occur in July and August.
"Well, you know, it's hard to sort of take one event and point to climate change, but everything about this event is consistent with the science of climate change," she said. "More extreme heat events, more frequent heat events, more long-lasting heat events."