OKANAGAN (NEWS 1130) — B.C. is in the grips of a brutal heat wave, and while the Metro Vancouver area has been seeing sweltering temperatures, it’s only hotter up in the Okanagan, long known as a tourist destination in the province.
Temperatures in places like Penticton and Osoyoos recorded highs in the 40 degrees Celsius range this weekend, and more hot weather is in the forecast for Monday and Tuesday.
Penticton Mayor John Vassilaki says many residents of the city, which has a large seniors population, have been staying indoors and near air conditioners to stay cool.
However, tourists have been flocking to beaches.
“They’re all along the beach and they keep dipping themselves in the water every 5 to 10 minutes to stay cool, and there’s lots of umbrellas on the beach,” he says. “They’re taking precautions, and we’ve been educating the public, tourists and locals, to be very careful with the heat and sun.”
Vassilaki is hoping neighbors and family members will check in on each other during this heat wave.
“I just hope the younger family members look after their elderly relatives,” he says.
In the nearby community of Summerland, Mayor Toni Boot is hoping everyone is taking care of themselves during the hot weather, but notes this could be good for local tourism, noting many sun-seekers head to the area searching for the heat.
“It doesn’t hurt having Okanagan lake here, and, of course, there’s all of the wineries to visit,” she says.
However, she’s encouraging anyone heading to the area to hydrate, stay in the shade during the hottest hours of the day, and if you’re camping, make sure you’re being wildfire aware.
“Just be cautious”, says Boot. “Especially if you’re enjoying the backwoods, or the wilderness, just make sure that you’re smart and that you’re completely putting any fire that you may have, out, before you head out.”
The Mayor of Osoyoos is also warning of potential wildfires.