There were 233 death notices in the last 4 days in the province of British Columbia. The city of Lytton beat for the 3rd day in a row the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in the country: visual heatwaves 49.5ºC.
Hundreds of people have died suddenly in recent days in British Columbia, a province in western Canada, amid an unprecedented heatwave in weather.
Residents of a Canadian village which recorded the country’s highest ever temperature, 49.6C (121.3F), have been forced to flee by a wildfire https://t.co/2RHxGbF7Tj
— BBC Weather (@bbcweather) July 1, 2021
The city of Lytton, which is 250 km east of Vancouver, had for the third consecutive day on Tuesday (29) the record for the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada: 49.5ºC.
The Canadian mark is almost 5°C above the historical record for heat in Brazil, which is 44.7°C (achieved in November 2005 in Bom Jesus do Piauí, according to the National Institute of Meteorology).
High temperatures have also affected the western United States, with cities in Washington and Oregon also setting records (see below).
Authorities in British Columbia, the province of Vancouver and Lytton, received 233 death notices between Friday (25) and Monday (28), compared to an average of 130 in normal times.
The province’s forensic medicine services said that “extreme heat played a role” in the “significant increase in the number of deaths”.
Canadian federal police said in a statement that elderly people are the majority of victims. “We believe heat played a role in the majority of deaths.”
Hundreds of sudden fatalities, many of which are considered to be heat-related, have been reported in Canada amid the country’s record-breaking heatwave, according to officials. In British Columbia alone, 597 people have died in the last five days.
heat in Vancouver
Since Friday, at least 134 people have died suddenly in the Vancouver region, a city on the coast of the Pacific Ocean that has about 675,000 inhabitants and is the main city in British Columbia.
The city has recorded temperatures above 30ºC for several days, well above the average of 21ºC at this time of year. At Whistler ski resort the thermometer reached 42°C.
Understand why seniors suffer more and need extra care
“Vancouver has never experienced such heat and unfortunately dozens of people have died,” city police spokesman Steve Addison said.
“I’m concerned about older people who live in East Vancouver who don’t have an airy place to live and sleep,” said Graham Grieger.
“I’ve never seen anything like it; it’s never been this powerful.” “I hope it doesn’t happen again because it’s too much,” Rosa, a city resident, told France Presse.
Cities have set up “cooling centers,” vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 have been halted, and some schools have been closed. Air conditioners and fans are in scarce supply in the region.
In addition to British Columbia, alerts have been issued for the provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba and parts of the Yukon and Northwest Territories.
Records also in the USA
In the United States, the heatwave affected Portland (Oregon) and Seattle (Washington). Known for their mild and humid climate, cities had the highest temperatures since records began in 1940.
The rain will finally give us a break tomorrow…just in time for the holiday weekend! Pleasant weather and dry conditions expected through the 4th of July. pic.twitter.com/U5nO4yDXCA
— NWS Kansas City (@NWSKansasCity) June 30, 2021
On Monday afternoon (28), the thermometers reached 46.1°C at Portland airport and 41.6°C at Seattle airport, according to the US National Weather Service (NWS).
The heatwave also caused several forest fires in both countries, due to a phenomenon known as “heat dome” (where high pressures trap hot air in the region).
“According to the World Meteorological Organization, which issued a warning on Tuesday, heatwaves are becoming more common and stronger as greenhouse gas concentrations rise.”
“They start earlier and end later, making an ever-increasing impact on human health and health systems,” said the organization, which is based in Geneva, Switzerland.