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Chilliwack sees record high temperatures, low air quality

Six-year-old Chilliwack resident Mahchi plays in the fountain at Central Community Park, Saturday with his younger brother and friend during record temperatures.  - Greg Laychak
Six-year-old Chilliwack resident Mahchi plays in the fountain at Central Community Park, Saturday with his younger brother and friend during record temperatures.
— image credit: Greg Laychak

Temperature records are falling as are air quality levels as hot weather continue to cook Chilliwack and the entire Fraser Valley.

Metro Vancouver continued an air quality advisory Monday for eastern parts of Metro Vancouver the Fraser Valley because of high concentrations of ground-level ozone, which is expected to persist over the next few days.

Sunday the mercury hit 34.5 C in Chilliwack, an all-time record for the day beating the 33.9 C on July 13, 1961, according to Roger Pannett, Environment Canada volunteer weather observer.

After surpassing the 34.3 C on July 1, this July 13 was the hottest day in Chilliwack since the 36 C on Aug. 14, 2010.

(The all-time high temperature for Chilliwack was 38.2 C on July 29, 2009, which was the second-day of a record-breaking three-day heat wave.)

Another temperature record was broken already Monday as the high minimum for July 14 of 19.8 C was set.

In a joint press release, Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health has also issued hot weather precautions, pointing out that the high temperatures can be dangerous.

As for the air quality, a Metro Vancouver press release advises avoiding strenuous outdoor activities in the mid-afternoon. Exposure is a particular concern for infants, the elderly and those with underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease and asthma.

The advisory is expected to continue until there is a change in the current weather, which isn't expected until late in the week.

 

Tips to reduce your personal health risk from air quality and high temperatures:

• Stay cool and drink plenty of water;

• Use symptom management medications such as inhalers if needed;

• Continue to manage medical conditions such as asthma, chronic respiratory disease and heart failure. If symptoms continue to be bothersome, seek medical attention;

• Maintaining good overall health is a good way to prevent health effects resulting from short‐term exposure to air pollution;

• Spend several hours every day in an air-conditioned facility;

• Use public splash pools, water parks or pools;

• At current temperatures, fans alone are not effective. Applying cool water mist or wet towels to your body prior to sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off;

• Dress for the weather by wearing loose, light-weight clothing. Protect yourself from the sun by wearing a wide-brimmed hat and sunglasses.

• Keep your home cool. Open windows, close shades, use an air conditioner and prepare meals that do not require an oven;

• Avoid sunburn, stay in the shade or use sunscreen with SPF 30 or more;

• Avoid tiring work or exercise in the heat. If you must exercise, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Limit outdoor activity during the day to early morning and evening;

• NEVER leave children or pets alone in a parked car. Temperatures can rise to 52 C within 20 minutes in an enclosed vehicle when the outside temperature is 34 C. Leaving the car windows slightly open or "cracked" will not keep the inside of the vehicle at a safe temperature.

 

Voluntary emission reduction actions reducing air emissions throughout Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley will be beneficial to air quality. Actions people can take:

• Minimize the use of vehicles;

• Consider taking transit or car pooling rather than driving to your destination;

• Minimize the use of other gasoline and diesel engines, such as lawn mowers and trimmers;

• Avoid refuelling with gasoline during the hottest time of day.

• Avoid idling your vehicle;

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