Canada weather: Heatwave hits record 46.6C as US north-west also frazzles

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Canada has recorded its highest ever temperature because the country’s west and therefore the US Pacific north-west frazzle in an unprecedented heatwave.

Lytton in British Columbia soared to 46.6C (116F) on Sunday, breaking an 84-year-old record, officials said.

A “heat dome” of high parked over the region has set new records in many other areas.

The US and Canada have both warned citizens of “dangerous” heat levels that would persist in the week .

Experts say that global climate change is predicted to extend the frequency of utmost weather events, like heatwaves. However, linking any single event to heating is complicated.

The high zone is large , from California right up to Canada’s Arctic territories and stretching inland through Idaho.

There has been a run on air-conditioners and fans, and cooling shelters have sprung up. Some bars and restaurants – and even a minimum of one swimming bath – were deemed too hot to function.

Lytton, which is about 150 miles (250km) north-east of Vancouver, surged past the previous Canadian record.

That was set in two towns in Saskatchewan – Yellow Grass and Midale – back in July 1937 at a balmy 45C (113F).

Lytton wasn’t alone. quite 40 other spots in British Columbia set new records.

Environment Canada senior climatologist David Phillips told CTV: “I wish to break a record, but this is often like shattering and pulverising them. It’s warmer in parts of western Canada than in Dubai.”

He said there was an opportunity of topping 47C somewhere.

British Columbia’s power providers said there had been a surge in demand for electricity to stay air-conditioners running.

Environment Canada said Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Yukon and therefore the Northwest Territories , should even be on alert.

In its warning, it forecast a “prolonged, dangerous, and historic heatwave will persist through this week”, with temperatures 10C-15C above normal, at near 40C in many places.

‘Historic’ heat in US north-west
The Pacific north-west has also been breaking records, particularly in parts of Washington and Oregon states.

The US National Weather Service called the heatwave conditions “historic” and said they might persist through the week, “with numerous daily, monthly and even all-time records likely to be set”.

Seattle and Portland, often the target of jokes about rainy climates, might be among those setting their hottest temperatures on Monday. Both have already surpassed 40C.

Oregon eased Covid attendance restrictions to open up swimming pools and air-conditioned areas like shopping centres. But Seattle in Washington had to shut one pool due to “unsafe, dangerous pool deck temperatures”.

Fruit growers are rushing to select crops, fearing the warmth could shrivel cherries and other fruit. Pickers are starting at dawn and stopping at lunchtime within the unbearable temperatures.

BJ Thurlby, president of the Northwest Cherry Growers, told the Seattle Times: “We are travelling in absolutely uncharted waters.”

The US track and field Olympic qualifying trials had to be halted in Eugene, Oregon, on Sunday, because the crowd was told to go away the stadium for safety reasons.

Some Covid vaccination centres also closed due to the warmth .

Some areas along the coast could cool a touch later within the week, but Boise, Idaho, could see every week of 40C+ temperatures. The National Weather Service said parts of the state could suffer “one of the foremost extreme and prolonged heatwaves within the recorded history of the Inland Northwest”.

The warnings for all were to remain hydrated, avoid strenuous activities, and check on vulnerable neighbours.

We can’t say surely this brutal heatstorm has been caused by emissions from industrial society, but it’s precisely the kind of extreme scientists have warned of as CO2 levels still rise.

In fact scientists have gotten far better at linking some extreme events to global climate change , like the heatwave that scorched Europe in 2019, which researchers say was made 100 times more likely thanks to CO2.

What’s extra-concerning is that these temperatures are reached with global temperatures just 1.1 C above preindustrial times.

Science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on global climate change , judges that we’re likely to exceed 1.5C above that level soon . And at current rates we’ll overshoot a 2C rise – possibly higher.

Yet China and India still build new coal-fired power stations. and therefore the G7 – Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the united kingdom and therefore the US – won’t provides a date to phase them out.

The UK et al. are still drilling for more oil and gas to burn, saying it’ll be needed to 2050.

It’s certainly looking sort of a climate emergency.

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