Heat wave beats down on Chilliwack

The blistering temperatures in the 'Wack aren't coming down any time soon. There could be another week of sweltering heat in store.

The forecast is for more hot air shimmering under the sizzling sun as the unrelenting heat wave continues to bake Chilliwack and the rest of southern B.C. We just came through the hottest June on record.

Do what you can to stay cool, Chilliwack!

The blistering temperatures aren’t coming down any time soon.

There could be another week of sweltering heat in store.

Chilliwack just suffered through “easily the hottest June in Chilliwack in over 120 years,” according to volunteer weather observer Roger Pannett, for Environment Canada.

Temperatures are hovering at about four degrees above normal, and the driest June on record, with a paltry 8.5 mm of rain, since last time it set a record in 1965 of only 12 mm of rain, he said.

The forecast is for more hot air shimmering under the sizzling sun as the unrelenting heat wave continues to bake Chilliwack and the rest of southern B.C. A heat wave is defined as three or more days of temperatures above 32 C.

Most of southern B.C. has seen temperature records fall, drought-like conditions, high UV ratings and bad air quality.

By the end of Saturday, June 27 there was a new record high temperature in Chilliwack for that day with the mercury hitting 34.8 C. That was the fortieth high temperature record to fall in Chilliwack in 2015, said Pannett.

With a record high minimum of 20 degrees C overnight and then a max high of 33 on Monday, it meant the ‘mean temperature of 26.5 oC on June 29 was slightly more than 10 degrees above normal, and a record for the day for June.

Scorchingly hot temperatures can adversely affect salmon, said Dean Werk of Fraser Valley Salmon Society.

“We’re always concerned about high temperatures and low flow rates in the river,” he said.

It creates low oxygen conditions which can hurt fish swimming up from the mouth of the Fraser, and can lead to spiralling pre-spawn mortalities which decimate stocks.

Anything about 19 degrees C in-river can be downright deadly for the prized salmon, especially sockeye because of the timing.

“Fisheries will likely be curtailing sport fishing, and if that is what we have to do, then we support that. Anything hot is not good. We could end up with disrupted migrations.”

The first air quality warning for the Fraser Valley went out over the weekend due to high concentrations of ground-level ozone, and was cancelled Monday morning after the small amount of rainfall through Sunday decreased the poor AQ levels. But the drought continues as the sun shines down unabated.

Experts always recommend that people avoid strenuous activities especially when air quality is poor, and the bad AQ sees infants and the elderly suffer, as well as those with chronic health conditions, like heart disease and lung conditions.

It’s a good idea to check on any seniors living alone during a prolonged heat wave, who may not have any family around, said Coletta Holmes, executive director of the Chilliwack & District Seniors’ Resources Society. Being homebound can increase the feeling of isolation, she said.

A recent bus trip to the Interior was of great concern to many, because of the extreme hot weather they’d be facing.

“They recognize that the heat will be hitting them harder than most,” she said.

To see air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts http://www.airmap.ca and www.bcairquality.ca.


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