The record for the hottest temperature in Canada has been broken once again, less than 24 hours after reaching a new all-time high in Lytton, B.C.
Environment Canada said temperatures reached a scorching 47.5 C in Lytton on Monday afternoon, topping the previous record of 46.1 C from Sunday.
Prior to that, the highest temperature ever recorded in the country was in Saskatchewan more than 80 years ago.
Monday’s blistering heat in Lytton also topped the record for the hottest temperature ever registered in Las Vegas. According to the U.S. National Weather Service, the Nevada city’s all-time high was 47.2 C.
It appears dozens of other local heat records were broken elsewhere in B.C. on Monday as well, though the numbers released by Environment Canada are preliminary.
Almost every corner of the province remains sweltering under what officials have called a dangerous long-duration heat wave, prompted by an “exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure” that has also kept temperatures elevated overnight.
In heat warnings that apply to most regions of B.C., Environment Canada has noted the potential for heat-related illness.
Symptoms to watch for include dizziness, vomiting, extreme thirst, rapid breathing, rapid heartbeat, and decreased urination with “unusually dark urine,” according to the weather agency.
The heat wave has prompted a run on fans and air conditioning units, leaving many condo and apartment-dwellers sweating day and night. Some residents have sought relief by renting hotel rooms with air conditioning and pool access.
At Sutton Place in Vancouver, more staff was brought in to handle the sudden surge in demand over the weekend.
“We didn’t anticipate what we saw,” said Sean Hutchinson, sales manager for the hotel.
The uncomfortable and potentially dangerous conditions have also left many people feeling worried about the future that lies ahead if more isn’t done to address human-caused climate change.
“Climate change is a public health emergency and we need to treat it like one,” B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau said on Twitter Monday. “B.C. is now facing a reality of extreme weather events or forest fires every single summer.”
Over the weekend, David Phillips, a senior climatologist with Environment Canada, told CTV News that climate change tends to make heatwaves and other weather events more volatile and extreme, likening it to “steroids for weather.”
Earlier in the heatwave, B.C. broke another record for the most 911 calls received by E-Comm in a single day. Emergency operators took about 8,000 calls Friday, exceeding the number received during the Stanley Cup Riot in 2011.
Emergency Health Services said paramedics responded to 187 calls for heat exhaustion and 52 calls for heat stroke over the weekend. By comparison, there were only 14 such calls for the entire month of June 2020.
On Monday, the persistent high temperatures prompted a call to voluntarily close workplaces if businesses can’t protect employees from heat stress, which occurs when one’s body heats up faster than it can cool itself down.
“All workers are potentially at risk,” Al Johnson, head of prevention services for WorkSafeBC, said in a news release.
“If an employer cannot be assured that workers will be protected against heat stress, they should seriously consider shutting down their workplace during this extreme heat.”
With files from CTV News Vancouver’s Bhinder Sajan and Ross McLaughlin