Historic temperature records were shattered day after day during the dangerous, long-duration heat wave.
The all-time high maximum temperature of 43 C set on Monday, June 28 was the hottest ever in Chilliwack, edging out the all-time high of 42.2 C set the day before on Sunday, June 27.
Monday capped three days in a row of blazing-hot temperatures above 40 C with no relief at night.
Prior to this, the hottest day ever recorded in Chilliwack was July 29, 2009, when the mercury hit 38.3 C.
Meteorologists say the blistering temperatures were caused by a ‘heat dome’ that came with the exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure that settled over B.C. on Friday, June 25, like a lid on a pot.
Looking at the numbers, it was not that much cooler in the ‘Wack at 43 C, than it was in Lytton, the hottest place in Canada on Monday with a record-smashing 47.9 C.
Lytton broke Canadian heat records three days in a row, including on June 29, hitting 49.4 C.
The extreme heat held on until Tuesday, June 29 when the mercury fell to more comfortable but still steamy 35.6 C. It was still 13.7 degrees above normal, but it was clear the heat was waning.
Before it cooled down, the community had faced a drawn-out weekend of dealing with never-seen-before heat that came with air quality concerns as ground-level ozone and small particulate levels rose with the temperatures.
There were eight cooling centres – including an outdoor misting station at the visitor centre – set up by City of Chilliwack and local churches, with volunteer drivers to transport seniors to them. There were cases of bottled water crowdfunded and handed out by Griffin Security to anyone in need. Ice sold out at many locations, and there were no hotel rooms for anyone that did not have air conditioning, as they all sold out as well.
Sunday, June 27 saw the “incredible all-time record max” of 42.2 C set by late afternoon, which is a whopping 21.9 C above normal, according to Roger Pannett, Chilliwack’s volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada, who provided all the data in this story.
By 9:30 p.m. that night it was still 33 C, which underlined the unusual nature of this heat wave in that there was absolutely no relief even at night with temperatures remaining elevated.
Climate change is pegged as a factor for the unusual heat dome that blanketed much of the province, and the Pacific northwest.
Saturday, June 26 saw a sweltering high max of 40.9 C, which broke the first all-time record, according to Pannett, who noted that the weather records for Chilliwack date back 140 years, to 1881.
Saturday’s weather also smashed the record in Agassiz, which was set in August 1898 at 39.4 C.
Fraser Health put out an “extreme heat alert” as the risk of heat-related illness rises with the mercury and is especially dangerous for: “the young, the elderly, those working or exercising in the heat, persons with chronic heart and lung conditions, persons with mental illness, people living alone and people experiencing homelessness.”
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