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Warnings issued for B.C.'s South Coast amid brief heat wave

Much of the B.C.’s South Coast is under a heat warning with temperatures expected to soar.

Health officials are warning people to be wary of heat-related illness for the next few days.

Environment Canada says the mercury will climb as high as 35 C inland and 27 C near the water on Wednesday and Thursday.

Warnings have been issued for Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley, the Sunshine Coast and Howe Sound.

Parts of Vancouver Island and further up the coast, as well as the Fraser Canyon and Thompson regions, are also impacted.

“A strong ridge of high pressure will bring a short-lived heat wave to British Columbia. Temperatures are expected to moderate on Friday,” said Environment Canada in an advisory.

Because of this, heat-related illness is a real danger, Environment Canada said.

Some of the symptoms include rash, cramps, fainting, exhaustion, heat stroke and the worsening of some health conditions.

Younger children, older adults, pregnant people, those with chronic illnesses and anyone working or exercising outdoors are most at risk.

Those who live alone and people who are marginally housed are also more impacted.

Several cities across in the Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health regions have opened cooling centres to offer relief.

“The hottest time of the day will be late afternoon to early evening. Extreme heat affects everyone,” said Environment Canada.

Preliminary data from the B.C. Coroners Service revealed that 16 people died during the record-breaking heat wave that arrived late last month -- most were seniors.

However, temperatures this summer have not reached the highs that were seen during last year’s heat dome that led to more than 600 deaths.

“In my 34 years, I have to say that is the worst event that I've ever seen for the loss of life. And because of that fear, the provincial government and everybody, the citizens, we're all watching out for each other better than we ever have,” said Doug Lundquist, a meteorologist for Environment Canada.

“It's sad that it had to come to that, but that's part of what's going to happen with climate change. Maybe this is a warning to us, that we have to expect really unexpected things in the future,” said Lundquist.

He says it’s important to ensure adequate warnings and information get out there without causing unnecessary fear.

Lundquist believes the B.C. Provincial Heat Alert and Response System introduced back in June is working well so far.

Environment and Climate Change Canada is a key component of that.

“We talked to a lot of people, our provincial partners, our municipal partners, we talked to a lot of people so the message is getting out there. We're still ironing out bugs, of course,” he told CTV News.

He believes collaboration and communication have never been better. But says there is always room for improvement.

Officials are urging the public to check on their neighbours and loved ones over the next few days.

They're also reminding people not to leave kids or pets in the car. Top Stories

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