SPECIAL WEATHER STATEMENT
ISSUED FOR COASTAL BRITISH COLUMBIA BY ENVIRONMENT CANADA AT 5:20 PM PDT SUNDAY 26 JULY 2009.
Extreme Heat-wave with Temperatures above 32C to Persist through Mid-Week.
An unusually lengthy period of extremely hot weather across the South Coast of British Columbia is beginning. Computer models suggest the heat-wave may last up to 5 days, or possibly 6 days at some inland locales. A massive ridge of high pressure building in the upper atmosphere will result in dry weather through the end of the week and many daily temperature records are expected to be broken.
Most importantly, the pattern of air pressure in the lower atmosphere will cause hot continental air to drift from the interior plateau to the coast. Calm or light winds on the coast will lead to stagnant air which is then subject to fierce heating by the powerful July sun. By this afternoon, temperatures in the low to mid thirties are expected.
Heat-waves on the BC Coast rarely last more than 3 days. After 2 or 3 days, the pressure pattern in the lower atmosphere usually changes, causing a shift in wind direction to onshore. The onshore flow of air brings cooler Pacific air inland, refreshing the air and lowering the temperature by 10 degrees. In this case, the switch to onshore winds may not occur until the end of the week and temperatures in the mid-thirties will persist until then.
It goes on to say that prolonged heat waves have only been recorded 3 times since 1881: in July and August of 1928 (hello! mark that in the Tardis as a time/location to avoid) and again in August 2004. Hmm. that reminds me of the single advantage we lost when we moved from the townhouse: the ocean breeze.
The worst thing is that this is very bad news for forest fires such as those in the Okanagan plus the 30 new fires sparked this weekend.
Speaking of fire, this weekend an infamous landmark, the Holiday Court Motel on Hillside, sustained considerable damage. Here's a recent photo of the boarded up building before it burned: