Canada witnessed a record all-time high temperature on 29 June in the town of Lytton, British Columbia, for the third day in a row as a deadly heatwave broiled the country’s west and the US Pacific Northwest, its weather service said.
“At 4:20 PM, Lytton Climate Station reported 49.5°C, once again, breaking the daily and all-time temperature records for the 3rd straight day,” Environment and Climate Change Canada posted on Twitter, announcing a temperature equal to 121 degrees Fahrenheit.
At least 134 people have died since 25 June in the Vancouver area, according to figures released by the city police department and the Royal Canadian Mounted police said.
The Vancouver Police Department said it had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since 25 June, with the vast majority “related to the heat.” “Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it,” police sergeant Steve Addison said.
Other local municipalities have said they too have responded to many sudden death calls, but have yet to release tolls.
The scorching heat stretching from the US state of Oregon to Canada’s Arctic territories has been blamed on a high-pressure ridge trapping warm air in the region.
Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington reached levels not seen since record-keeping began in the 1940s 115 degrees Fahrenheit in Portland and 108 in Seattle Monday, the National Weather Service (NWS) said.
The heat wave has forced schools and Covid-19 vaccination centers to close in the Vancouver area, while officials set up temporary water fountains and misting stations on street corners.
In Canada, the intense heatwave has now forced many schools and businesses to protect their students and workers. Pictures on social media show residents seeking relief from the heat by visiting outdoor pools and ice cream parlours.
A meteorologist said that the heatwave is just getting started in the Pacific Northwest.
“Canada didn’t just beat its long-standing all-time national heat record. It knocked it out of the park by a staggering +1.6°C. This record won’t even last 24 hours, the heatwave is just getting started. It is only June. The annual highest temperature is normally in late July!” the meteorologist wrote on Twitter.