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Records could be broken as UGM pleads for donations during heat wave

Last Updated Jun 18, 2018 at 6:29 am PDT

(iStock Photo)

Special weather statement still in place with BC in the midst of the season's first heatwave

Local charities ask for donations to help cool the homeless during BC-wide heatwave

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A special weather statement issued by Environment Canada is still in place as things heat up around BC.

The agency says most of Metro Vancouver will experience a “major shift” in the weather pattern, bringing with it the first heat wave of the season as temperatures are expected to hit the 30-degree mark. This is supposed to last until the middle of this week, if not longer.

Environment Canada says it’s possible Vancouver could break a record today. It’s supposed to be 25 degrees by the water today and 30 degrees inland and the standing record, set in 1969 for the area, is 28.3 degrees.

“Definitely Monday and Tuesday are some pretty hot days. We’re under a building ridge of high pressure and temperatures are going to be 10 degrees above average for this time of year and that’s all BC-wide. Our average right now is a high of 20 degrees and we’re expecting some low 30s away from the water. In the Interior they’re typically right now at about 25 degrees for their daytime highs and they’re expecting into the mid-30s, 35 [degrees] and possibly above,” explains Meteorologist Jennifer Hay.

Some other communities are also flirting with records. The all-time high in Abbotsford for this day is 32.2 degrees but forecasters are predicting it’ll hit 31 degrees today.

Hay says it’s safe to call this a heat wave which is not only impacting BC but the Prairies as well.

“The ridge weakens mid-week and moves away from our area but it doesn’t herald change to rainy weather or anything, it just kind of breaks down with some instability and a couple of showers moving in, maybe some thunderstorms more likely in the Interior.”

She adds the UV rating is at eight, which is really strong.

Staying cool

Remember to wear long sleeves, a hat, stay hydrated and make sure you’re slathering on the sunscreen throughout the day.

It’s important to check on the elderly and never leave your children in a hot car. The same rule applies to pets as the SPCA is renewing its warning about pets in hot cars.

The City of Vancouver says police, fire and park ranger teams are monitoring public spaces, looking out for anyone who may be impacted by the heat.

“The city’s Housing Operations teams are checking on residents and some city facilities will be posting cooling centre notices and providing potable water,” says the city in a statement to NEWS 1130.

There are also a number of permanent water fountains available around Vancouver.

Helping the homeless

Outreach teams with the Union Gospel Mission are out and about warning people about the dangers of the heat and they’ll also be handing out things like water.

The UGM’s Jeremy Hunka says in the past, a heat wave like this in Vancouver has been deadly and they don’t want that to happen again.

“The heat can take a terrible toll on people, especially this first round because people aren’t ready for it. People don’t necessarily know how it’s coming, when it’s coming, how it’s going to affect their bodies, especially if they’re homeless and already vulnerable and their immune system is already diminished.”

The weather is also a reminder that organizations, like the UGM, need donations.

“That includes reusable water bottles, hats, men’s clothing like shorts and t-shirts [and] sunscreen. We’re short on almost everything and we really want to be handing that out as the heat hits. You can drop those things off at the UGM or at our thrift store and then we’ll get those into the hands of people who need it,” adds Hunka.

He says they took a proactive approach last week and started handing out water before the heat wave got underway.

“When the heat hits, especially when you see it could be five to 10 degrees above seasonal, that’s a massive difference especially if you’re already struggling.”

Hunka explains over the coming days, street teams will be increasing their rounds, checking out places like parks and alleys, to hand out supplies. “Prolonged exposure to the heat can result in anything from sunburn to heat exhaustion to heat stroke. Those are very some concrete things that can happen to people on the street.”

They’re also in need of items like lip balm and new underwear.