Canada sees record 49.5 degrees, 233 dead in heat wave

Canada sees record 49.5 degrees, 233 dead in heat wave
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Canada sees record 49.5 degrees, 233 dead in heat wave

Highlights

Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it

Vancouver: More than 200 people have died in Canada since Friday as temperatures hit a record high of 49.1°C in the past four days. These deaths in Vancouver area are likely linked to a grueling heat wave amid scorching conditions that have extended to the US Pacific Northwest.

Officials told Reuters that at least 233 people died in the West coast province of British Columbia between Friday and Monday, about 100 more than the average for a four-day period. They added that the number was expected to rise as more reports were filed.

Environment Canada has issued alerts for British Columbia, Alberta, and parts of Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Yukon and the Northwest Territories, saying the "prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave will persist through this week."

The deaths came as Canada set a new all-time high temperature record for a third day in a row on Tuesday, reaching 49.5 degrees Celsius in Lytton, British Columbia. The heat wave has forced schools and Covid-19 vaccination centers to close in the Vancouver area.

"Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it," a police official told AFP.

"Since the onset of the heat wave, the BC Coroners Service has experienced a significant increase in deaths reported where it is suspected that extreme heat has been contributory," the investigative service said in a statement on Monday. It added that investigators were gathering information to determine the cause and manner of deaths and whether heat played a role.

Environmental heat exposure can lead to severe or fatal results, particularly in older people, infants and young children and those with chronic illnesses, chief investigator said in the statement.

People cool off in Alouette Lake during the scorching weather of a heatwave in British Columbia, Canada June 28.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan told a news conference, said, "We are in the midst of the hottest week British Columbians have ever experienced, and there are consequences to that, disastrous consequences for families and for communities." "How we get through this extraordinary time is by hanging together."

He urged "checking up on those people we know might be at risk, making sure we have cold compresses in the fridge or we're staying in the coolest part of our homes, and making sure that we're taking steps to get through this heat wave."

Temperatures in the US Pacific Northwest cities of Portland, Oregon and Seattle, Washington reached levels not seen since record-keeping began in the 1940s: 46.1 degrees Celsius in Portland and 42.2°C in Seattle on Monday, according to the National Weather Service. The US National Weather Service has issued a warning, urging people to "stay in air-conditioned buildings, avoid strenuous outdoor activities, drink plenty of water, and check on family members/neighbors."

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