Live updates on the US and Canada heatwave
The sweltering heat is being caused by a “heat dome” according to meteorologists, as temperatures climbed to 49.5C in Lytton, British Columbia, on Tuesday.
In Vancouver, the police department said it had redeployed dozens of officers and asked the public to call 911 only for emergencies because heat-related deaths had depleted frontline resources and delayed response times.
The force added that it had already responded to 130 sudden deaths since last Friday.
In the American west temperatures hit a high of 46C in Portland, Oregon, as roads buckled, schools were closed and large wildfires continue to burn in the region.
Heatwave has reached ‘far above historical means’ than any other on record
A leading scientist has said that the searing heatwave gripping parts of the US and Canada has reached “far above historical means” than any other on record.
Dr Robert Rohde, who works at Berkeley Earth, a non-profit focused on temperature analysis, posted a graphic to Twitter showing the temperature spike in Canada.
In a post on Twitter, he said: “Stunning breakout far above all previously measured values to set a new national temperature record for Canada of 49.6 °C (121 °F).
“This heatwave has reached further above historical means than any other summer heatwave previously recorded anywhere in North America.”
Oregon heatwave sees hundreds sent to hospital
The heatwave affecting parts of the US and Canada has reportedly seen as many as 200 people in Oregon sent to hospital with heat-related illnesses since Friday.
On Sunday, temperatures soared to an all-time record high of 112F (44C) in Portland, Oregon’s largest city.
According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, hospitals saw around half the number of patients with heat-related illnesses they would typically see in an entire summer over this past weekend alone.
Chantal da Silva has the details
Portland has seen temperatures soar to record high of 112F (44C) as heatwave hits Pacific Northwest
What’s causing the unprecedented heat wave in Canada?
As western Canada faces a dangerous record-smashing heatwave, senior climatologist for Environment Canada David Phillips says a “heat dome” is engulfing the region.
“This dome stretches half way up to the atmosphere and it is a cap, a lid, putting a lid on top of boiling water, and inside that lid there’s no, no weather comes in, it’s just progressively warmer, and because it’s high pressure … that air squeezes each other and little air molecules jiggle and jangle and create heat and it doesn’t escape – that heat stays within that kind of dome,” he tells broadcaster CBC
As western Canada faces a dangerous record-smashing heatwave, senior climatologist for Environment Canada David Phillips says a “heat dome” is engulfing the region. “This dome stretches half way up to the atmosphere and it is a cap, a lid, putting a lid on top of boiling water, and inside that lid there’s no, no weather comes in, it’s just progressively warmer, and because it’s high pressure … that air squeezes each other and little air molecules jiggle and jangle and create heat and it doesn’t escape – that heat stays within that kind of dome,” he tells broadcaster CBC.
US suffers from severe drought
As well as soaring temperatures and wildfires the US west is also suffering from a serious drought.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration data for 2021 shows that virtually the entirety of the south western US is now under severe drought conditions.
Nearly the entirety of Oregon, California, Nevada, Utah, Arizona, and New Mexico are under “extreme” drought conditions, as are parts of Texas and Colorado.
The area stricken by drought has more than doubled since last year
US heatwave causes deaths and electricity blackouts
The US heatwave moved inland on Tuesday, prompting an electrical utility in Spokane, Washington, to resume rolling blackouts amid heavy power demand.
Officials said more than a half-dozen deaths in Washington and Oregon may be tied to the intense heat that began late last week.
The National Weather Service said the mercury reached 42.2 C in Spokane – the highest temperature ever recorded there.
Meanwhile, authorities said multiple recent deaths in the region were possibly related to the scorching weather.
The heat may have claimed the life of a worker on a nursery in Oregon, the state’s worker safety agency, known as Oregon OSHA, said on Tuesday.
The man who died was from Guatemala and had apparently arrived in the US only a few months ago, said Andres Pablo Lucas, owner of Brother Farm Labour Contractor that provided workers for the nursery, including the man who died.
Officials in Bremerton, Washington, said heat may have contributed to four deaths in that Puget Sound city.
But Vince Hlavaty, Bremerton’s medical officer, told the Kitsap Sun that firefighters cannot say definitively whether the heat was the cause of death.
In Bend, Oregon, authorities said the deaths of two homeless people in extreme heat may have been weather-related.
Additional reporting by AP
Dozens dead as ‘heat dome’ causes historic high of almost 50C
A record-shattering heatwave in Canada has contributed to dozens of deaths, police say.
Temperatures hit 121.1F (49.5C) in Lytton, British Columbia, on Tuesday – the third day in a row that Canada’s all-time highest temperature has been recorded.
Meteorologists say the unprecedented conditions are being caused by a “heat dome” over western Canada and parts of the US Pacific northwest, writes Matt Mathers.
‘Vancouver has never experienced heat like this,’ police say
Welcome to The Independent’s blog covering the searing heatwave in Canada and the US northwest. We’ll be bringing you all the latest updates on the record-breaking temperatures.