Keeping cool was the challenge with the recent heat wave in the Lower Mainland that came before summer even started. (Paul Henderson/ Black Press file)

Summer comes early in the Fraser Valley

Record temperatures in Chilliwack before the season arrives elicit warnings

Summer hasn’t yet officially arrived although it already feels like the depths of it.

With a record temperature on June 17 of 32.9 C (11.4 C above normal) in Chilliwack and expected records Tuesday and possibly Wednesday, Environment Canada issued its first heat wave warning of the season.

That record temperature on Sunday broke the previous record of 32.8 C from 1969, according to Roger Pannett, Chilliwack’s volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada.

And by 3:45 p.m. on Monday, it was 32.2 C, according to Pannett with one-and-a-half hours of daytime heating yet to come, so likely another record set to fall beating the 32.8 C from June 18, 1967.

At 11 a.m. on Monday, Environment Canada (EC) issued the heat warning for the Fraser Valley including Abbotsford, Chilliwack and Hope.

“Sunny skies and very warm air are on tap for the next several days as a strong ridge of high pressure envelopes British Columbia,” according to the EC warning.

The UV index early in the week was also in the category of “very high.”

The good news is that a brief patch of rain is forecast for Friday, but that is to be followed by more sun and hot temperatures.

And with the first day of summer not even here yet, warnings are being issued on how to deal extreme hot weather for this coming summer.

On Monday, WorkSafeBC issued an alert to employers and employees regarding the risk of heat stress for those working outdoors.

“People who work outdoors face many risks when the weather gets hot,” said Dan Strand, WorkSafeBC Prevention Field Services Director. “Employers are required to know if their workers are at risk, and need to perform a heat-stress assessment and implement a mitigation plan accordingly.”

In 2017, there were 30 accepted claims for work-related injuries caused by heat exhaustion and heat stroke, according to a WorkSafeBC press release.

“The occupations with the highest number of heat stress-related claims last year included: landscape and horticulture workers, welders and metal fabricators, longshore, logging and forestry workers, and construction workers.”

Environment Canada issued tips on how to beat the heat and avoid heat stress:

• Everyone needs to drink plenty of water even before the onset of thirst.

• Check on older family, friends and neighbours. Make sure they are cool and drinking water.

• To reduce heat risk, schedule outdoor activities during the coolest parts of the day.

• Seek a cool place such as a tree-shaded area, swimming pool, shower or bath, or air-conditioned spot like a public building.

• Never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.

• Ask a health professional how medications or health conditions can affect your risk in the heat.

• Watch for the symptoms of heat illness: dizziness/fainting; nausea/vomiting; rapid breathing and heartbeat; extreme thirst; decreased urination with unusually dark urine.

• Contact your local government to find out what services (such as air-conditioned buildings and public splash parks) are available in your area.

In Chilliwack, there are three spray parks where families can go to beat the heat: Central Community Park, Chilliwack Landing Spray Park, and Cheam Centre Spray Park.

• READ MORE: B.C. turns up the heat

• RELATED: Global warming cooks up ‘a different world’ over 3 decades


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