A relentless heat wave made history again on Monday when temperatures reached 40.8 C – capping off three days of back-to-back all-time record high temperatures on the Sunshine Coast.
Environment Canada reported 40.8 C in both Sechelt and Gibsons on June 28, breaking for the third time in a row a record held for more than half a century – the last time it was close to this hot since records have been kept was 1965, when the temperature reached 35.6 C.
Sunshine Coast’s first new all-time record was made Saturday, June 26 when the temperature hit 36.9 C, followed by another record-breaking temperature of 39.6 C, reached Sunday.
On Monday, the “exceptionally strong” high-pressure system, which has consumed B.C. since last week, appeared to reach its peak when the village of Lytton, about 300 kilometres northeast of the Coast, earned the notorious title of hottest place in Canada, ever, with a scalding 47.9 C, according to Environment Canada.
“Normally when you break a record, it’s by a small margin – this smashed the record by a full 1.6 C,” said World Meteorological Organization (WMO) spokesperson Clare Nullis in a release, adding the temperatures are “more typical of the Middle East or North Africa.”
June 29 is set to mark a turning point, however, as marine air begins to push into the region, though the expected maximum temperature of 34 C is still hot enough to break the Sunshine Coast’s daily record of 31.2 C set in 2008.
The normal maximum temperature on the Coast for this time of year is 22 C.
“Heatwaves are becoming more frequent and intense as greenhouse gas concentrations lead to a rise in global temperatures,” said WMO’s head of climate monitoring, Omar Baddour, in a release about the heat wave. “We are also noticing, they are starting earlier and ending later and are taking an increasing toll on human health.”
On Monday, the union representing E-Comm Emergency Communications for BC workers said in a release that 9-1-1 operators received nearly 8,000 calls on Saturday and 7,300 calls Sunday, more than 55 per cent above the daily average.
“Between the heat wave, the provincewide restart, and a 9-1-1 operator staffing shortage, there simply aren’t enough of us to get to these calls as quickly as we need to,” said CUPE 8911 president Donald Grant.