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B.C. set 54 heat records Saturday, more expected during 'unprecedented' heat wave

"Records are interesting but this is a dangerous heat wave."
Sunshine
B.C., including Vancouver, are still in the midst of a heat wave.

Saturday was the hottest June 26 ever in Vancouver.

It was also the hottest June 26 in Victoria, Kelowna, Kamloops, Cache Creek, Lytton, Merritt, Bella Coola, Trail and 45 other weather stations in B.C. (a surprising number of which are on southern Vancouver Island).

In two Lower Mainland municipalities, it was the hottest day ever.

"In Abbotsford we set not only the daily max record, but we set all-time highest temperature ever, any time of year," says Environment Canada meteorologist Bobby Sekhon. "The previous record was 38 C from Jul 29, 2009. Our new record for there was 39.6 C."

"So we beat it by quite a bit."

Pitt Meadows also set an all-time high of 37.8 C. The previous record (37.6) was also from July 29, 2009, when a similar heat wave hit the province.

"That was definitely a historic event, we had loss of life during that one. Let's hope we can avoid that this year," Sekhon adds.

In Vancouver the daily record of 30.2 C set in 2002 was smashed, as the mercury peaked at 32.3 C yesterday. Those readings are taken at Vancouver International Airport, Environment Canada's weather station for the city. Communities like Burnaby or Delta likely saw record-setting temperatures as well, but there aren't any official weather stations in those places.

While the Lower Mainland was hot, the southern interior was substantially hotter. Seven towns broke 40 C, including nearby Pemberton and Kamloops. Three places were over 42 C, with Cache Creek cracking 42.5 C and Lillooet hitting 43.1 C.

Lytton, often known as B.C.'s hotspot, lived up to the reputation with 43.2 C.

Sekhon says more records will be broken over the next 36 hours.

"These are probably going to be crushed in a matter of hours," he says. "It's quite possible somewhere in the southwest interior is going to set an all-time Canadian record."

That record was set on July 5, 1937 in Midale and Yellowgrass, Sask. where the two small towns hit 45 C.

Sekhon calls this heat wave "unprecedented" given the extreme heat; he expects more all-time highs to fall, especially away from the coastline.

"The story is it's not stopping here, we're going to get hotter," he says. "The biggest take-home message is this is a risk to human health."

To that end he warns people to be cautious during the next couple of days while the heat wave remains, reminding people to stay cool and drink lots of water, even if they're not thirsty.

"Records are interesting but this is a dangerous heat wave."