It is 122F in Canada. Average temperatures in the Sahara Desert are only 114 F
More than 130 people have died in Canada after an unprecedented heat wave that broke temperature records. With most of them elderly or with underlying health conditions, British Columbia recorded 486 deaths in five days, up from an average of 165, according to the BBC. Only three heat-related deaths have occurred in Western Province in the previous three to five years.
Predicted as “historic, dangerous, prolonged and unprecedented” by the National Weather Service, the heat wave is incredibly disturbing with extremely high temperatures recorded over large areas of North America.
Following the news that Portland and Seattle had reached historic highs on Monday, the village of Lytton in B.C. set Canada’s heat record for a third consecutive day on Tuesday, with temperatures reaching 116 ° F (46 , 6 ° C) Sunday, 118 ° F (47.7 ° C) on Monday, and finally 121.3 ° F (49.6 ° C) on Tuesday. To put it in perspective, this temperature is higher than the historic Las Vegas high of 117 ° F. Additionally, the average high temperatures of the Sahara Desert in summer, which is one of the driest and hottest regions in the world, are above 104 ° F (40 ° C) for months and can rise up to at 117 ° F (47 ° C).
The previous national heat record for Canada was 113 ° F (45 ° C).
And more recently, Wednesday night, things took a turn for the worse. A wildfire roared over the 260-mile-long village of Lytton with a population of 250, which had set the record the day before.
According to Washington post, the fires were likely started as a result of dry lightning or cloud-to-ground lightning from thunderstorms producing little or no rain. In just 15 minutes, the town was engulfed in fire, according to Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman, who spoke to NEWS 1130, a news radio station in Vancouver.
A mandatory evacuation order had to be executed at 6 p.m., with residents, many without their belongings, fleeing shortly after as several buildings were destroyed. There were also injured residents.
Climate scientists are still trying to determine to what extent climate change may have made the heat wave worse. Although there is natural variability and local factors, global warming with increasingly frequent forest fires is having an impact.
“Every heat wave that occurs today is made more likely and more intense by human-induced climate change,” said Dr Friederike Otto of the University of Oxford. BBC. “Climate change is certainly one of the drivers of the intensity of this Canadian heat wave – but it is not the only one and determining the extent to which it is impacting is a work in progress.”