Dozens of people have died in Canada amid a devastating heatwave that has broken temperature records. Police in the Vancouver area have responded to more than 130 sudden deaths since Friday.
Canada saw 103 heat records broken on Monday across major provinces, with a record breaking temperature of 49.6C (121.3F) recorded on Tuesday in Lytton, British Columbia. Most victims were elderly or suffered with underlying health conditions after 103 heat records were broken on Monday across the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories.
Most were elderly or had underlying health conditions, with the extreme heat a contributing factor. British Columbia’s premier John Horgan said that the news offers a “big lesson that the climate crisis is not a fiction”, warning that the heat could cause “another catastrophic fire season” with “the entire west coast of North America from Baja to Alaska red hot”.
Power cables and major roads have buckled, Covid-19 testing centres and schools have been forced to close indefinitely, and the Amazon headquarters in Seattle has become a public cooling centre for local residents.
The extreme temperatures have been driven, in part, by static high pressure and hot air stagnating above areas while compressing it down, similar to a saucepan.
The link between extreme temperatures and climate change is unclear, however the region rarely experiences high exposure to heat. In the Northwest of Canada, June is often called “Juneuary” due to the cool rain and average high temperatures of around 21 C.