Chilliwack braces for heat wave

Chilliwack is heading into an extended stretch of hot, dry weather, with temperatures forecasted well over 30 degrees.

Chilliwack is heading into an extended stretch of hot, dry weather, with temperatures forecasted well over 30 degrees.

While there may be a few showers today, Wednesday, the numbers will steadily climb into the weekend. Environment Canada is forecasting a peak of 34 degrees on Sunday, while The Weather Network is forecasting 36 degrees that day, with the notation “feels like 39.”

Either way, the weather is going to be hot enough to cause many in the Fraser Valley to seek relief.

Extreme temperatures can cause heat-related illnesses, says Fraser Health. Symptoms to watch for include thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness, fainting and collapsing. Heat-related illnesses can also lead to death, the health authority adds.

People considered at risk are seniors and infants, and those with heart, lung and kidney conditions. People living alone and unable to leave the house are considered more at risk, and FHA reminds everyone to check on elderly friends and family regularly.

Some tips to stay cool include staying hydrated by drinking water before thirst sets in, spending at least several hours a day in air conditioned facilities such as shopping centres, libraries, or community centres. Fraser Health suggests using public splash pools and water parks, or taking a cool shower.

They also advise:

• Keep your home cool. Close shades during the day, open windows at night, use an air conditioner and prepare meals that do not require an oven.

• Avoid tiring physical work or exercise in the heat. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Limit outdoor activity during the day to early morning and evening.

• NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52°C (125°F) within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34°C (93°F). Leaving the car windows slightly open or “cracked” will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

This hot weather trend is expected to continue right through to July 7, with only scant precipitation.

Sun exposure can lead to skin cancer, the most common cancer in Canada. The Canadian Cancer Society advises everyone to reduce sun exposure, seek out or create shade, wear light, loose clothing that covers your arms and legs, wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses, and sun screen. The sun’s rays are the strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., and children’s outdoor activities should be scheduled outside that time.