Metro Vancouverties should prepare for extreme heat this week as parts of the province face evacuation orders due to weather-related issues.
B.C. officials held a media availability Monday, May 8, for an update about flooding and wildfires in the province, as well as the expected heat.
Approximately 50 British Columbians in Cache Creek remain under an evacuation order due to flooding, and 2,000 remain under an evacuation alert. Emergency support services are available to evacuees, including support for lodging, food and transportation.
Bowinn Ma, Minister of Emergency Management and Climate Readiness, noted that "this weekend's forecast is a good reminder to prepare for heat," urging people to identify "cool zones" in their homes and communities.
Prepared BC offers multilingual downloadable guides and resources to help British Columbians prepare for extreme heat, wildfires, floods and other emergencies. If it is not safe for you to stay at home, consider staying with friends or family that have air conditioning or cooler spaces. Alternatively, consider staying in a public space to get cool, such as a library, movie theatre, religious centre, shaded place in a park, shopping mall or community centre.
Metro Vancouver weather forecast includes extreme heat
Environment Canada calls for temperatures to climb steadily through the week, with daytime highs rising about a degree each day until the weekend. Saturday's forecast includes a high of 24 C on the coast and 29 C inland, with temperatures falling to 15 C.
Temperatures are expected to be even hotter Sunday, with a high of 25 C expected on the coast and a sizzling 31 C high expected inland.
The minister added that the heat may increase flood risk due to snowmelt. The River Forecast Centre will continue to monitor and forecast conditions.
"We ask British Columbians to remain vigilant and prepared," Ma noted, specifying that locals should put together a "grab and go bag," pre-register with Emergency Support Services, and connect with friends and family.
EmergencyInfoBC will have up-to-date information on evacuation orders and alerts for wildfires and floods. If an evacuation alter or order is issued, you must follow the instructions provided by your local government or First Nation.
Bruce Ralston, Minister of Forests, noted that there are currently 62 active wildfires in the province and that 91 per cent of them are under control; five wildfires in the Prince George Fire Centre remain out of control.
Alberta declared a provincial state of emergency Saturday, as wildfires forced upwards of 24,000 people from their homes. More than a dozen communities and rural areas have been evacuated in recent days.
Tips to stay cool during the extreme heat from the Preparedness BC
In homes without air conditioning, heat builds indoors over the course of a few days. It may stay hotter inside than outside overnight. Without air conditioning, the longer the heat lasts, the more dangerous it becomes. Take the following steps to keep yourself and members of your household safe:
- If you have air conditioning, turn it on. It does not need to be going full strength to help you stay safe
- If you have air conditioning, and vulnerable friends and family do not, bring them to your home
- If you do not have air conditioning, move to your pre-identified alternate location with air conditioning or cooler spaces
- Sleep in the coolest part of the residence. Outdoor temperatures are usually lower than indoor temperatures overnight, so consider sleeping outside if you can safely do so
- Sleep with a wet sheet or in a wet shirt
- Take cool baths or showers to draw heat from your body
- Drink plenty of water, regardless of whether you feel thirsty. Be aware that sugary or alcoholic drinks cause dehydration
- If you are taking medication or have a health condition, ask your doctor or pharmacist if it increases your health risk in the heat and follow their recommendation
- If your doctor limits the amount you drink or has you on water pills, ask how much you should drink while the weather is hot
With files from the Canadian Press.