U.S. & Canadian west coast face historic heatwave

World Today


Calling it hot on the U.S. and Canadian west coast is an understatement. 

More than 230 people have died in British Columbia since Friday, according to local officials. 

Although the coroners office is still determining the official cause, authorities have been responding to dozens of sudden deaths since the heatwave began, CNN reports. 

Temperatures in the Pacific Northwest have surpassed 38 degrees Celsius (100 degrees Fahrenheit) for multiple days. 

This region typically has temperatures in the 20s Celsius (70s Fahrenheit) during this time of year. 

Many households don’t have air conditioning, and with summer having just begun, people are worried about what the next few months could hold. 

The extreme heat has melted power cables, cracked streets and fueled the ongoing drought. 

Experts are blaming climate change. They don’t know exactly how climate change is impacting weather systems but say the consequences are real. 

According to the University of Washington’s Climate Impacts Group, temperatures in the U.S. Northwest have been warming since 1895. 

While the changes may be numerically small, experts say this trend is increasing, lasting longer and happening more frequently, not just in the U.S. but around the world. 

This current heatwave is being caused by a dome of static high-pressure hot air stretching from California to the Arctic. 

U.S. President Joe Biden has promised to provide federal aid to western states to help with the heatwave, drought and wildfires. 

In the meantime, residents both human and animal, are doing everything they can to stay cool. 

Experts recommend drinking plenty of water and eating foods with high water content.

They say it’s also best to stay indoors as much as possible but if you do need to go outside, limit travel to cooler parts of the day and/or stay in the shade. People should also wear breathable clothing and try to stay covered as much as possible.

As for staying cool, the experts say gels, face sprays, a cool shower and keeping the curtains drawn can help.

These same tips can be applied to pets. Owners are urged to be aware of heatstroke signs in animals, including excessive panting, dark or bright red tongue and stumbling. 

“The ongoing extreme heat wave over the Northwest has likely peaked, but

dangerous temperatures are still forecast across the region through the

end of this week,” says the National Weather Service. 

Coastal areas are starting to see a little relief from the extreme heat, but interior areas will still feel the historically high temperatures in the coming days.