Canada weather: Heat hits record 46.6C as US north-west also sizzles

Vancouver's heatwave victims make use of cooling facilitiesCanada's highest temperature ever recorded as both the west and the US Pacific north-west were afflicted by an unprecedented heatwave.Officials said Lytton, British Columbia, reached 46.6C (116F), breaking an 84-year-old mark.The "heat dome", which is static high pressure acting as a lid for a pot of boiling water, has set many records in other areas.Both Canada and the USA have warned their citizens about "dangerous" heat levels which could continue this week.Experts believe that climate change will increase the frequency and severity of extreme weather events such as heatwaves. It is difficult to link any one event to global warming.Nick Miller, a BBC forecaster, says that although "heat dome" doesn't have a specific meteorological definition, it has been associated with large areas of high-pressure. This can lead to clear skies and sunny days. Heatwaves can grow day-by-day as the high pressure pattern continues for longer periods of time.The high pressure zone stretches from California to Canada's Arctic territories, and inland through Idaho.Cooling shelters and air-conditioners have been in demand as a result of the explosion in sales of fans and air-conditioners. Bars and restaurants, as well as a swimming pool, were found to be too hot for their intended purpose.Lytton is located approximately 150 miles (250 km) north-east Vancouver and has surpassed the Canadian record.It was established in Saskatchewan's Yellow Grass, and Midale in July 1937, at a balmy 45C (113F)Lytton wasn't the only one. Other than 40 spots in British Columbia also set new records.CTV spoke with David Phillips, Environment Canada senior climateologist: "I like breaking a record. But this is like shattering them and pulverising." It's much warmer in western Canada than it is in Dubai.He stated that there was a possibility of reaching 47C, with Monday being the most likely day.Continue the storyAccording to British Columbia's power companies, there was a spike in electricity demand to keep air conditioners running.Environment Canada stated that Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan and Yukon should be alert.It warned of a "prolonged and dangerous heatwave that will continue through this week", with temperatures 10C-15C higher than normal and near 40C in many locations.MapThe US north-west is experiencing a 'Historic Heat'The Pacific north-west region has also set records, especially in Oregon and Washington.The US National Weather Service called heatwave conditions "historical" and stated that they would continue throughout the week "with many daily, monthly, and even all-time records expected to be set".In the scorching heat, a worker tends to a fiber-optic line in Lake Forest Park (Washington).Both Seattle and Portland, two cities known for their rainy climates, recorded their highest temperatures ever on Sunday.According to the US National Weather Service, Portland broke its previous record of 44C. Seattle also reached a new record when the mercury hit 40C.Oregon relaxed Covid attendance restrictions in order to open swimming pools and air-conditioned areas such as shopping centers. Seattle, Washington, had to close one pool due to "unsafe and dangerous pool deck temperatures".Fearing that the heat will shrivel fruit, fruit growers have been racing to harvest crops. In the extreme heat, pickers started at dawn and stopped at noon.BJ Thurlby is the president of the Northwest Cherry Growers. He told the Seattle Times that "We are traveling in absolutely uncharted waters."A cooling centre was set up in Portland, Oregon.On Sunday, the US track and field Olympic qualifying trials were halted in Eugene. The crowd was asked to leave the stadium because of safety concerns.Due to the heat, some Covid vaccination centers were also closed.Some parts of the coast may cool off a bit later in the week. Boise, Idaho could experience 40C+ temperatures for a week. According to the National Weather Service, parts of the state could experience "one of most severe and prolonged heatwaves recorded in the Inland Northwest's history".All were reminded to keep hydrated, avoid strenuous activity, and be aware of their vulnerable neighbors.Analysis box by Roger Harrabin Environment analystAlthough we can't be certain that this heat wave was caused by industrial emissions, scientists who study extremes have found that every heatwave today is more likely to be caused by human-induced climate changes.Scientists have become much more adept at connecting extreme events to climate change. For example, the 2019 heatwave in Europe was linked to CO2 and is now 100 times more likely to occur because of it.Extra alarming is the fact that these temperatures were reached at a global temperature of 1.1 C higher than preindustrial times.The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is a science body that believes we will soon exceed 1.5C. At current rates, we could exceed a 2C increase - or even higher.China and India are still building new coal-fired power plants. The G7, which includes Canada, France and Germany, Japan, Britain, the UK, and the US, won't set a date for their elimination.The UK and other countries are still looking for oil and gas, and say they will need it until 2050.It certainly looks like a climate emergency.