Edmonton Journal

Heat advisory issued for city

Temperatur­es in region expected to top 30 C through Monday

- With files from Madeleine Cummings, Otiena Ellwand and Rachel Ward

Alberta Health Services has issued a heat advisory for the Edmonton area with plus-30C days expected through Monday.

That is a rare event, said Dan Kulak, a meteorolog­ist at Environmen­t Canada.

The last time Edmonton had four consecutiv­e days at 30 C or higher was in 2008.

Edmonton typically gets four plus-34 C days a year.

The record high for June 27 was 33.3 C in 2002; 32.2 C in 1937 for June 28 and 37.2 C in 1937 for June 29.

“Things can bounce around a little bit,” but one of the next four days might set a record,” Kulak said Friday.

But we likely won’t see four record highs in a row, he said.

Environmen­t Canada has issued a special weather statement for Edmonton, St. Albert and Sherwood Park because weekend temperatur­es will be “well above normal.”

A strong ridge of high pressure will continue to build over Western Canada, allowing hot air to move into southern and central Alberta.

There also won’t be much reprieve from the heat, with overnight lows staying in the mid to upper teens, Kulak said.

Alberta Health Services said people should watch for symptoms of heat stroke, including high body temperatur­e, lack of sweat, disorienta­tion, fainting, and unconsciou­sness.

The heat advisory will remain in effect for the next 72 hours.

People should consider doing outdoor activities during cooler parts of the day and make sure they stay hydrated, said Dr. Joanna Oda, medical officer of health for the Edmonton zone. That includes drinking lots of water before leaving the house, too, she said.

“A lot of this is common sense, but sometimes we get a little lax and we’re also expecting quite a rise in temperatur­e,” Oda said. “People may be taken a little bit by surprise, especially with all the excitement going on this weekend with FIFA and Connor McDavid.”

Vulnerable people, including children, seniors, outdoor workers, those who are socially isolated and people with pre-existing respirator­y or cardiovasc­ular conditions, should be particular­ly vigilant out in the sun and heat, she said.

“It can happen relatively quickly,” Oda said. “Basically, listen to your body and drink whenever you’re thirsty.”

Inner-city social worker Brianna Olson and some friends tried to help protect people from dehydratio­n Thursday when the high reached 29 C.

The group filled the bed of a pickup truck with cases of water they purchased and some donated from Save-On-Foods.

They drove around the inner-city for two hours, handing out more than 500 bottles to people in need.

“We tried to look for people who were obviously not necessaril­y getting support from other agencies,” she said.

The people they met were obviously thirsty and dehydrated, she said.

“People were just happy to have it. One guy was like, ‘God answered my prayers. Thank you,’” she said.

The dry weather makes for parched forests, too. About half of Alberta, mostly in the centre and North, are under fire advisories, wildfire informatio­n office Richard Horne said Friday.

“Already we’ve had almost twice the number of fires this year compared to last,” Horne said.

About 55 new fires started in the past 24 hours, he said. More than 100 fires are burning across Alberta with 26 considered out of control, but none are near communitie­s or other infrastruc­ture, Horne said.

“It also makes fighting these fires more of a challenge. Remote areas are harder to access. They’ll often have to be dropped in or brought in as close as they can by helicopter and then walk in the rest of the way,” Horne said.

More rain might not be enough to soak the dry forests, he said. The fires get into the soil, so firefighte­rs have to dig into the ground to drench hot sports, Horne said.

Police are reminding the public to never leave children unattended in cars, as the summer heat can put children at increased risk of medical distress. Children’s smaller bodies and immature thermoregu­lating mechanisms mean they tend to overheat faster than adults.

Police charged a woman earlier this week for leaving her one-year-old child unattended in a vehicle while she spent an hour in a nearby restaurant. The child was found “in distress,” crying, and overheated, Const. Gail Hetman said Friday. There have been approximat­ely 10 such incidents in the city since April.

Officers said people who notice unattended children in vehicles should call 911 immediatel­y and remain with the car until emergency crews arrive.

For people heading outside this weekend, AHS recommends taking the following precaution­s to protect themselves from sunburns, heatrelate­d exhaustion and heat stroke:

Consider rescheduli­ng outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day;

Take frequent breaks from heat, spending time indoors at cooled public buildings, including malls or indoor pools;

Drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, noncaffein­ated beverages to stay hydrated;

Do not leave any person or pet inside a closed vehicle;

Apply a sunscreen of at least sun protection factor (SPF) 30 at least 20 minutes before heading outdoors. Be sure the SPF 30 screens out both UVA and UVB rays, and apply frequently;

Wear a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses;

Wear light-coloured, longsleeve­d shirts and pants that cover skin.

 ?? ED KAISER/EDMONTON JOURNAL ?? Belgravia School students and staff hold their annual end-of-the-school-year water fight in the playground on Friday.
ED KAISER/EDMONTON JOURNAL Belgravia School students and staff hold their annual end-of-the-school-year water fight in the playground on Friday.

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