Hundreds of sudden deaths have been reported during Canada’s record-breaking heat, many of which are suspected to be fever-related.
Approximately 486 deaths have been recorded in British Columbia alone over the past five days, an increase of 195% over normal numbers during that period.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his condolences to the victims, many of whom were elderly.
Unusually high temperatures have been recorded throughout North America.
British Columbia coroner Lisa Lapointe said Wednesday that “the significant increase in reported deaths is due to extreme weather events that BC has experienced and continues to affect many parts of the state. It is being considered. “
She said that many of the people who died in the heat waves lived alone in unventilated homes.
Ms. Lapointe added that there have been only three heat-related deaths in the western provinces over the last three to five years.
On Wednesday night, the town of Litton, British Columbia was evacuated due to a wildfire. The day after Canada recorded the highest temperature ever recorded at 49.6 ° C (121.3 ° F).
Mayor Jan Polderman Told CBC News: “The whole town is on fire. It took about 15 minutes from the first sign of smoke to a sudden fire everywhere.”
The heat in the western part of Canada and the United States was caused by a static high-pressure hot-air dome extending from California to the Arctic. The coastal areas are cooler, but the inland areas are less restful.
The meteorological system is currently moving eastward in Prairie. Alberta, Saskatchewan, and parts of Manitoba are subject to thermal alerts from the Canadian Ministry of the Environment.
Janice Holdsworth, who lives in Castlegar’s British Columbia community, told the BBC that she hadn’t been outdoors for four days. “I have never experienced this for 70 years,” she said.
“We paint all windows black and constantly spray mist, cold footbaths and showers on our fans, who operate 24/7. [are] Drink a large amount of liquid. “
In Vancouver alone, fever is believed to be the cause of 65 deaths since Friday.
At an affordable housing event in Kanata, Ontario, Trudeau continued to talk about climate change, explaining that heat waves are a growing problem.
The United States, Canada’s southern neighbor, has also been hit by the heat.
According to the National Weather Service, Monday’s Pacific Northwest reached 46.6C (116F) in Portland, Oregon and 42.2C (108F) in Seattle, Washington, the highest temperatures since record-holding began. ..
In Oregon, officials say at least 63 people have died from heat-related health problems in the last few days. Forty-five of those deaths were recorded in Multnomah County.
At least 16 people have died in King County and Snohomish County, Washington.
US President Joe Biden also linked heat waves to climate change in his speech.
Can fever be associated with climate change?
I’ve heard from scientists that in just a few days it will be possible to determine how much human-induced warming has contributed to the scorching temperatures found in British Columbia.
One of the interesting evidences is the lack of rest that the night brings. Recent midnight temperatures in BC are 2 ° C higher than normal summer daytime figures.
Researchers say this combination of day and night heat is extremely dangerous to humans-study Published last year We have shown that these combined events are closely related to greenhouse gas emissions.
Local factors such as natural fluctuations and sea breeze can cause or limit the effects of extreme heat. But the big picture is that rising thermometers for global heating are affecting all events.
“All heat waves that occur today are more likely and more intense due to human-induced climate change,” Dr. Friederike Otto of Oxford University told the BBC.
“Climate change is arguably one of the driving forces behind this Canadian heat wave intensity, but it’s not just that, it’s an ongoing task to determine how much impact it will have.”
Experts say that fingerprints of global heating are everywhere, even if they can’t attribute this heat wave directly to climate change.
Both Trudeau and Biden warn that heat waves are more likely to cause wildfires.
On Wednesday, Mr. Biden met with the Governor of the Western United States and fire officials at the beginning of the annual North American wildfire season.
Global News Calgary weather presenter Jodi Hughes told the BBC that firefighters were very concerned about the potential for wildfires that could be caused by thunderstorms that could occur as weather patterns change. He said he was.
Many British Columbia homes do not have air conditioning because the temperatures are usually much milder during the summer.
A person living in Vancouver told Agence France-Presse that the hotel seemed to be sold out as people gathered for air conditioning, saying, “I’ve never seen anything like this. I hope it never happens again. “.
British Columbia officials have warned residents not to leave the door open after the bear has wandered into people’s homes.
In Vancouver, residents report that car windows are cracked and melted, even when not parked in the sun.
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