A sweltering heat wave that has settled over western Canada for several days is believed to be a contributing factor to dozens of sudden death calls received by police in the Vancouver area, authorities said Tuesday.
In the “Pacific Northwest” of the United States, about a dozen deaths in Washington and Oregon may be related to an intense heat wave that caused scorching temperatures and caused a power company to impose continuous blackouts amid high demand. .
The unprecedented heat wave broke temperature records in Seattle and Portland this week and moved inland on Tuesday. Climate change is making these extreme weather events more likely and intense.
A wildfire in Northern California has grown significantly and has begun to pose a threat to communities, about 250 miles north of San Francisco.
Dozens of deaths in Canada
Cpl. Mike Kalanj of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police in Burnaby said the detachment responded to 25 sudden death calls in a 24-hour period starting Monday. The deaths are still under investigation and many of those killed were older people, he said.
Temperatures in the Vancouver area reached just below 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius) on Monday, but the humidity made it feel close to 104 degrees (40 Celsius) in areas that are not close to water, Environment Canada said. .
The record heat wave could subside in parts of British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories by Wednesday, but any reprieve for the Prairie provinces is further away.
In Vancouver, the police department said it had reassigned dozens of officers and asked the public to call 911 for emergencies only because heat-related deaths had depleted front-line resources and delayed response times.
“Vancouver has never experienced heat like this and unfortunately dozens of people are dying from it,” said Sgt. Steve Addison said in a press release. “Our officers are on edge, but we are still doing everything we can to keep people safe.”
As of mid-afternoon Tuesday, he said, police had responded to more than 65 sudden deaths since the heat wave began on Friday.
“The vast majority of these cases are heat-related,” Addison said, adding that on a typical day, Vancouver police respond to three to four sudden death calls.
Ingrid Jarrett, executive director of the British Columbia Hotel Association, said residents in parts of the Lower Mainland, Victoria and the Okanagan region have been reserving air-conditioned rooms so they can continue to work and also get some sleep.
Environment Canada said the weather system broke 103 heat records in British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories on Monday. Those records include a new Canadian high temperature of 118 degrees) (47.9 degrees Celsius) set in Lytton, British Columbia, breaking the previous record of 116 degrees (46.6 degrees Celsius) set in the same town a day earlier.
Blackouts and Wildfires on the US West Coast
Hazardous weather that gave Seattle and Portland back-to-back days of record temperatures exceeding 100 degrees Fahrenheit (37.7 degrees Celsius) eased in those cities on Tuesday. But inside Spokane, towns in eastern Oregon and cities in Idaho experienced a sudden spike in temperatures.
The National Weather Service said mercury reached 109 F (42.2 C) Tuesday in Spokane, the highest temperature ever recorded there.
About 9,300 Avista Utilities customers in Spokane were without power Monday, and the company said more planned blackouts began Tuesday afternoon in the city of about 220,000 people.
Authorities said several recent deaths in the region were possibly related to the scorching weather.
The wildfire in Northern California forced the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office to issue evacuation orders Monday for the Lake Shastina and Juniper Valley areas.
Ignited by lightning on June 24, the lava fire burns north of the town of Weed in the Shasta-Trinity National Forest. The flames spanned nearly 55 square kilometers on Tuesday.
The total number of people who were forced to flee the area was unclear. The Sacramento Bee reported that nearly 3,000 people live in Lake Shastina and up to 8,000 more live in the area to tend to thousands of marijuana crops.
Officers shot and killed a man pulling a gun while trying to keep him out of a marijuana farm complex in the area where thousands of people were ordered to evacuate as the wildfire raged, authorities said.
Biden’s comment to climate change skeptics
President Joe Biden, during a speech on infrastructure in Wisconsin, took note of the Northwest when he spoke about the need to be prepared for extreme weather.
“Did anyone ever believe that you turned on the news and saw that it was 116 degrees in Portland, Oregon? 116 degrees, “said the president, working on an excavation against those who question the reality of climate change.” But don’t worry, there is no global warming because it is just an invention of our imagination. “
The heat wave was caused by what meteorologists described as a high-pressure dome over the northwest and exacerbated by human-caused climate change, making these extreme weather events more likely and intense.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism