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New West 'cooling' to 32C after yesterday's heat-wave peak topped 42C

New Westminster residents reminded to continue to stay safe and cool as heat continues and air quality worsens
Ryall Park spray park
Angelo and two-year-old Amari beat the weekend heat at the Ryall Park spray park. New Westminster is "cooling" to 32C today after yesterday's peak topped 42C.

New Westminster has survived the peak of the heat wave – but that doesn’t mean we’re home free yet.

Yesterday’s temperature reached a reported peak of 42.3C in New Westminster. And, although today isn’t anticipated to come anywhere near that level – the Tuesday, June 29 forecast calls for a high of 32C – the usual precautions for a hot, sunny day apply.

School District 40 schools are back in session for the final day of classes today after being cancelled due to yesterday’s extreme heat, but students will be dismissed at midday.

Elsewhere, some heat-related cancellations remain in effect; the city has announced that stretch fitness and body flow classes at Centennial Community Centre are cancelled for Tuesday, June 29.

To keep an eye city updates, watch its extreme weather advisory page.

The heat wave has had an impact on air quality in the city as well. While New Westminster is not under the air quality advisory now in effect for eastern Metro Vancouver municipalities, air conditions have been worsening in the city since the weekend.

As of 8 a.m. Tuesday, New Westminster’s air quality monitoring station was exceeding its 24-hour objective for fine particulate matter and was into the medium-high zone for nitrogen oxide.

The overall air quality is still rated at 2, or low risk, on the health index, but the forecast calls for it to move up to 5, or medium risk, today.

STAY SAFE IN THE HEAT

Fraser Health offered up the following tips for people to continue to stay safe in the heat:

  • Stay hydrated and cool. Seek out air-conditioned facilities such as a shopping centres, libraries, community centres or restaurants. Air-conditioned spaces offer a break from both heat and poor air quality.
  • Local municipalities have opened cooling centres. In New Westminster, Century House is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Queensborough Community Centre is open 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. (Pets are welcome in Queensborough.)
  • Use public splash parks, water parks or pools, or take a cool bath or shower.
  • Applying cool water mist or wet towels prior to sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off. At extreme temperatures, fans alone are not effective. 
  • Drink cool, non-alcoholic beverages (preferably water) regardless of your activity intake. Don’t wait until you are thirsty.
  • While everyone is at risk of heat-related illness, hot temperatures can be especially dangerous for the young, the elderly, those working or exercising in the heat, those with chronic heart and lung conditions, those with mental illness, people living alone and people experiencing homelessness. If you are taking medication, particularly for mental illness, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendations.
  • If you are wearing a mask and are having difficulty breathing, remove the mask, whether you are indoors or outside, as wearing a mask may impact thermal regulation during heat events.

Follow Julie MacLellan on Twitter @juliemaclellan.
Email Julie, jmaclellan@newwestrecord.ca.