Heat alerts are in place for the Northwest U.S. and western Canada, affecting over 20 million people as high temperatures are expected to continue and potentially break previous heat records on Monday, May 15.
This is according to meteorologists who said that a heat wave is hovering over the region, causing extremely hot weather, and increasing the risk of wildfires.
In recent days, temperatures have spiked across the Pacific Northwest and adjacent Canadian provinces, including British Columbia and Alberta, where multiple wildfires have continued to rage.
Over the past week, various reports said smoke from these Canadian fires have reached the U.S. East Coast.
The heat alerts warned of disruptive or life-threatening temperatures that are above-normal average.
Meteorologists described the current heat dome as “summerlike heat,” since it resembles heat signatures during North America’s summer months that spans from June to August every year.
In the U.S., previous heatwaves were linked to both human and cattle deaths.
The common risks posed by the extreme weather event.
North America Heat Wave
(Photo : Photo by FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images)
The sun sets behind power lines in Los Angeles, California on September 3, 2020, ahead of a heatwave to arrive September 4 through the Labour Day weekend prompting a statewide flex alert.
The National Weather Service (NWS) said high temperatures will reach “triple digit readings” in the San Joaquin Valley in California this weekend or into early next week, resulting in moderate risk of heat-related illnesses for vulnerable groups, according to a Twitter post, as cited by CNN.
With this, around 12 million people in the U.S. are affected by the ongoing heat alerts, which have been issued for the residents of western Washington state, western Oregon, and parts of northern California.
As Monday draws to a close, over 50 high-temperature records could be surpassed as the heat wave persists in western Canada and the U.S.
Meanwhile, in Canada, most parts of British Columbia have been experiencing temperatures 10 to 15 degrees Celsius above the seasonal average.
Also Read: At Least 1000 People Died Due to Heat Wave in Spain
2021 Heat Wave
While hard to correlate, heat-related casualties do occur with common symptoms including heat stroke.
This is evident in recent years, especially in 2021 when a massive heat wave struck the Pacific Northwest and the Southwest U.S., which affected the states of Canada, Washington, and Oregon, as well as British Columbia in Canada.
A total of approximately 1,400 deaths due to heat exposure were recorded in both countries during the said extreme heat event, according to official reports.
In particular, around 800 people died in British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington between late June 2021 and early July 2021 due to the intense heat, USA Today reported.
The event continued until September 2021.
Heat Wave Risks
In relation to the 2021 Pacific Northwest heat wave, the NWS said the long-duration, unprecedented event resulted from high to very high risk of heat-related illness or impacts for most of the affected population.
The risks are aggravated for people who were sensitive to heat and individuals with no effective cooling system or adequate hydration, as cited by the Washington State Department of Health.
Related Article: Kansas Heat Wave Kills Around 10,000 Fat Cattle as Temperatures Reach over 100 Degrees Fahrenheit
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