Environment Canada’s heat warning continued Sunday morning, June 27, after temperatures in the Cowichan Valley reached scorching levels Saturday, soaring into the high 30s C, with things onlly expected to get hotter on Sunday and Monday.
The heat warning encompasses all of Vancouver Island, with many places setting temperature records.
The daytime high for Sunday is forecast to be at least 39 C in Cowichan, with humidity adding several degrees so it will feel like the mid-40s C. Overnight temperatures are only expected to dip to 18 to 21 C.
“An exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure over British Columbia has resulted in record breaking temperatures,” Environment Canada warned. “The duration of this heat wave is concerning as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures. This record-breaking heat event will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses.”
Temperatures will begin to lower on Tuesday, they said.
To help Cowichan Valley residents beat the heat, cooling stations have been set up around the Valley.
The Cowichan Valley Regional District has set up a cooling station at the Cowichan Community Centre in the air-conditioned Heritage Hall which will be open through Monday from noon to 6 p.m. for those who need some water and to escape the heat. Patrons are asked to use the arena-side entrance next to the Cowichan Valley Capitals offices.
All COVID-19 protocols will remain in place and masks will be provided.
“The hope is that seniors, families and whoever needs to get out of the heat will come and use the service,” said Community Centre manager Rob Williams.
Cooling tents will also be set up at 200 Cowichan Way, behind the casino, Monday, June 28 through Wednesday, June 30 and Friday, July 2 as well as July 5-9, all between noon and 2:30 p.m., where those looking to beat the heat can get some water, fruit and supplies. Those tents will also be available
Another set of cooling tents will be set up at the Cowichan Valley Basket Society at 5810 Garden St. on weekdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. (3 p.m. starting July 1). Food, water, and cooling supplies will be available for those in need.
While not an official cooling centre, Warmland Shelter on Lewis Street will be available to offer water and cooling supplies to those in need. The shelter’s adult outreach vans will be patrolling the area to help those in the community as well.
Clad in their blue ‘outreach’ ball caps, Island Health’s Mental Health and Substance Use outreach team will also be out in the community distributing water and other cooling supplies, while Discovery Youth and Family Services’s outreach team will be out helping youth in the area.
The CVRD has also limited its operations at its three solid waste transfer stations, to try to keep both staff and public out of heat.
The centres will be open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. only on Sunday and Monday.
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Environment Canada advised everyone to drink plenty of water even before you feel thirsty and stay in a cool place. People should also check on older family, friends and neighbours, and make sure they are cool and drinking water.
They also reminded to never leave people or pets inside a parked vehicle.
People can also watch for the symptoms of heat illness which include dizziness/fainting; nausea/vomiting; rapid breathing and heartbeat; extreme thirst; decreased urination with unusually dark urine.
Outdoor workers should take regularly scheduled breaks in a cool place.
• Check HealthLinkBC online resources about heat-related illness and how to protect yourself at www.healthlinkbc.ca/healthlinkbc-files/heat-related-illness.
• Call HealthLinkBC at 8-1-1 to ask about heat-related illness.
BC Hydro said they saw a record demand for summer peak electricty on Saturday night. The previous record was set on Aug. 18, 2020.
“BC Hydro expects demand to increase even further as the temperatures continue to climb,” said a press release from the utility. “It is predicting demand will peak on Monday and could reach up to 8,300 megawatts, shattering last night’s record.”
Hydro is not concerned about meeting demand, however, assuring customers they are able to take on this record-breaking heat wave.
They do, however, have some energy saving advice for folks looking to keep their bills down:
• Closing the drapes and blinds: shading windows can block out up to 65 per cent of the heat.
• Shutting doors and windows: if the temperature outside is warmer than inside, keep doors and windows closed to keep the cooler air in and the warm air out.
• Using a fan: running a fan nine hours a day over the summer costs just $7.
• Being a star: purchase an Energy Star air conditioner as they use about 30 to 40 per cent less power than standard units.
• Opting for smaller appliances: use a microwave, crockpot or toaster oven to avoid the extra heat produced by larger appliances when preparing meals.
—with files from Sarah Simpson, Citizen