‘Prolonged, dangerous, and potentially historic’: Heat wave envelops Alberta

EDMONTON — A historic heat wave is sweeping across western Canada, delivering scorching temperatures to Edmonton.

For the next week, almost every single day is expected to reach temperatures above 30 degrees in the Edmonton area.

“This is historically unprecedented,” said David Phillips, Environment Canada senior climatologist.

“That’s more days above 30 degrees than you had in the last five years,” he added.

Phillips said extreme heat is gripping western Canada from Alberta to British Columbia and all the way up to the Northwest Territories and Yukon.

A warm air mass is creating a lid effect across western Canada that is trapping dry heat with little potential for thunderstorms or precipitation.

“This thing is a big dome,” Phillips explained. “It just gets progressively warmer, the hot air can’t go anywhere. It’s stuck in this lid or cap that’s hanging over the region.

“There are no clouds in the sky, which means its wall-to-wall sunshine,” he added. “Which means temperatures can buildup even more.”

Environment Canada is calling this a prolonged and potentially dangerous heatwave, with temperatures in some areas to climb past 40 degrees by next week.

“It could very well be uncharted waters for Edmonton,” he said. “Four days in a row could be record-breaking.

“Here we are not even out of June yet and we are going to see records that we have never seen before.”

June 2021 heat wave

The City of Edmonton activated its extreme weather response plan on Friday to help keep people safe from Alberta’s heat.

Several city facilities with air conditioning have their doors open and cool bottled water available to give people opportunities to receive respite from the heat.

Local organizations like the Bissell Centre are also taking to the streets to deliver water bottles to those in need.

Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning installers are slowly re-cooping losses incurred during the COVID-19 pandemic as temperatures soar.

For Jeff Daniels, owner of Daniels Heating and Refrigeration, the calls are coming in one after the next.

“We’re probably up double the volume from last year, especially with this upcoming week,” he said.

To prepare for the peak of the highest temperatures, some Edmontonians are getting creative.

Jessica Salmon-Potts is building a do-it-yourself air conditioner.

“You put icy things in it, frozen water bottles, fan on top and hopefully it will work,” she said. “We’re getting desperate.

“It’s cheaper than buying the real thing. So we are just going to try it.”

On Saturday, Edmonton was almost as hot as Juba, South Sudan.

The heat wave is predicted to end next week after Canada Day. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton’s Touria Izri and Ryan Harding

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