Home Health Heat Stress Heat forecast for BC delivered by provincial health officer

Heat forecast for BC delivered by provincial health officer

Moderate probability of near-normal temperatures in Coastal BC areas.

heat outlook, 2024
Summer Outlook from Environment and Climate Change Canada as released May 31, 2024. [BC Health]

Friday May 31, 2024 | VICTORIA, BC [Last update 10:30 am]

by Mary P Brooke, B.Sc. | Island Social Trends

Heat is the hot topic today.

Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry took the lead today to provide some heat-related warnings to British Columbians today.

bonnie henry, public health officer
BC Provincial Health Officer Dr Bonnie Henry delivered heat-related health information on May 31, 2024 in Vancouver. [livestream]

Her presentation along with Health Minister Adrian Dix and Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada was delivered online from the government Cabinet Office in Vancouver.

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Their presentation highlighted these weather forecasts and seasonal outlook updates:

  • Probability of above-normal temperatures for June across B.C., expected after first week of June.
  • A high probability of above-normal temperatures across the Interior.

Regional temperature outlook:

So far the weather has been relatively ‘normal’, said Armel Castellan, of ECCC.

The Summer Seasonal Temperature Outlook for June, July and August) shows coastal BC with a moderate probability of near-normal temperatures.

By comparison, the outlook for the Interior BC region is for above-normal temperatures.

summer 2024, weather forecast, heat
Summer Seasonal Temperature Outlook for BC, at May 31, 2024 [Environment and Climate Change Canada]

Heat information resources:

There are two key resources for people to track heat conditions:

weather resources, online
Online and social media weather resources. [ECCC 2024]

Preparing your home & lifestyle:

Plan ahead for staying cool.

  • Know which rooms are cooler. Stay hydrated. Bathe with cool water.
  • Never leave children or pets in a car during hot weather.
  • Seek medical assistance immediately in instances of heat stress or heat stroke.
  • Be prepared ahead of time, so that these steps are ready to act upon when heat periods occur.

Preparation helps people feel more empowered, and come through with better health outcomes, said Sarah Henderson, Scientific Director, Environmental Health at BC Centre for Disease Control.

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Heat event upcoming in June:

Expect a health-related event either next weekend or mid-June, was the messaging from Castellan today. Advisories will be issued closer to when that happens, he added.

armel castellan, environment canada, weather forecaster
Armel Castellan, warning preparedness meteorologist, Environment and Climate Change Canada during May 31, 2024 summer weather forecast session. [livestream]

Expect a “dry pattern” for the month of June, he said.

Also be prepared for adapting to smoke from wildfires, and possible evacuation, said Castellan.

sarah henderson, bc health
Sarah Henderson, Scientific Director, Environmental Health at BC Centre for Disease Control, May 31, 2024. [livestream]

Warm weather going forward:

Not just summer: “There will be warmer weather for every season here on in”, said Castellan.

Prepared for summer threats this summer and every summer, said Henderson.

Advancing since the 2021 heat dome:

As of Spring 2024 there is a two-year precipitation deficit exists in most of BC.

Just three years ago there was a serious heat dome (during which over 600 people died in just five days, mostly in low-income housing in Vancouver and Victoria) that has led to this greater attention to heat-related health management.

heat dome
The heat dome in BC set record-high temperatures both daytime and overnight, June 25 to 29, 2021.
adrian dix, health minister
Health Minister Adrian Dix during heat-related health announcement, May 31, 2024. [livestream]

Housing and air conditioning:

Older adults are impacted more by heat, said Health Minister Adrian Dix today. During the heat dome of June 2021 over 99% of the heat-deaths were among people over age 50.

People in BC Housing will have access to air conditioning. There is now additional funding ($6 million grant to BC Care Providers Association’s EquipCare BC program) for upgrading air cooling capacity in long-term care homes, said Dix today.

Minister Josie Osborne Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation, announced more funding for air temperature management, and that as of 2024 the BC Building Code requires at least one room to be able to maintain a temperature under 26°C.

Indoor temperature at 26°C is risky and over 31°C is dangerous, said Henderson.

josie osborne, minister of energy, innovation
Energy, Mines and Low Carbon Innovation Minister Josie Osborne, May 31, 2024. [livestream]

The Free Portable Air Conditioner (AC) program has been expanded to reach 19,000 more eligible households.

Heat warning signage & alerts:

Extreme heat warning information will be added to highway signs to inform people about expected extreme heat events, similar to wildfire, construction and road safety messaging.

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This summer, the Province will begin to use overhead signs on highways to inform travellers and tourists about expected extreme-heat events in areas throughout the province.

The Province may also send out BC emergency alerts to mobile devices, radio and TV in the event of an extreme-heat emergency.

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===== RELATED:

BC Coroners report on extreme heat deaths dedicated to the victims (June 7, 2022)

Meteorologist tells UBCM: heat dome was no surprise (September 15, 2021)