Canada: Heatwave destroys crops in British Columbia
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Canada broke its temperature record for the third day in a row on Tuesday, with the sweltering heat reaching 49.5C (121F) in Lytton, British Columbia. Meteorologists say the heat in western parts of Canada and the US over the last few days has been caused by a “heat dome” of static high-pressure hot air. These heat domes park over a certain area, trapping heat below and causing prolonged periods of intense heat.
WXCHARTS 2m temperature anomaly maps show that a huge expanse of northwest North America is currently affected by the heatwave.
While coastal areas appear to have had some recent respite from the sweltering heat, inland areas could continue to see temperatures in excess of 40C on Wednesday.
According to WXCHARTS 2m maximum temperature charts, the temperature could get as high as 41.7C (107F) in parts of western Canada on Wednesday.
While coastal regions appear to be cooler on Wednesday, swathes of western Canada and the USA are blanketed as red on the map, suggesting widespread maximum temperatures of 30C (86F) and above are possible.
Weather forecast maps suggest the hot conditions could continue for much of the region over the coming days.
On Thursday, maps show the heat is likely to continue across the region, with highs of 40C (104F) forecast in some areas, such as near Fort McMurray.
Although the heat appears less widespread across Canada on Friday, many regions could still see heat above 31.1C (88F).
Maximum temperatures of 38.3C (101F) are forecast for some areas on Friday.
An increase in deaths over the last few days has been attributed to the extreme heat currently gripping the Pacific Northwest.
The unexpected deaths of 65 people in Vancouver alone are thought to have been contributed to by the severe conditions.
Officials in the Canadian province of British Columbia said on Tuesday the region had suffered nearly double the average deaths during the past four days of “extreme heat”.
At least 233 people died in the area between Friday and Monday, which is about 100 more than the average for a four-day period, with the number expected to rise.
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BC Coroners Service said on Monday: “Since the onset of the heatwave late last week, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory.”
In addition to Canada, heat-related fatalities have also been reported in parts of the Pacific Northwest US.
Several severe heat warnings have been issued by authorities across the regions.
Earlier this week, the US National Weather Service (NWS) urged people to check in on vulnerable loved ones and neighbours during what they said was likely to be “one of the most extreme and prolonged heatwaves in the recorded history of the inland Northwest”.
The NWS added: “Residents are urged to avoid extended periods of time outdoors, stay hydrated and check on vulnerable family members/neighbours.”
Officials have warned the heatwave could continue in some areas until next week.
Environment Canada warned the “prolonged, dangerous, and historic heatwave” may not relent until mid-week or early next week.
Experts say the heatwaves that have descended on parts of the US and Canada this year cannot be linked directly to climate change, as it is difficult to link one weather event.
However, weather service meteorologist Eric Schoening told Reuters this month unusual weather patterns could become more common amid rising global temperatures.
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