B.C. could be in for some “seasonally unusual” temperatures this weekend, but officials aren’t expecting a heat dome like what was experienced in 2021.
Emergency Management Minister Bowinn Ma said the province is expecting elevated temperatures over the next week or so, and the primary concern is the impact to flooding and wildfires. However, she noted, a heat dome isn’t in the forecast.
“Heat domes are very specific meteorological phenomenon, characterized by persistent high pressure that can trap heat around an area for long periods of time,” she explained. “One of the more important characteristics of a heat dome are that even when the sun sets at night, the temperatures remain high. We are not anticipating that kind of scenario here.”
She acknowledged there may be times during the day when temperatures rise above 30 degrees in some areas of the province, “but w do anticipate it will cool down over the evening, providing much-needed relief for folks who are maybe more vulnerable.”
Ma said the province is monitoring the situation “closely” and elevated temperatures can still impact medically vulnerable people.
An unseasonably strong ridge of high pressure will build over B.C. beginning Friday and persist through the weekend. This will mean summer-like conditions with temperatures forecast to be several degrees above seasonal normals, likely breaking temperature records for mid-May.
— BC Wildfire Service (@BCGovFireInfo) May 10, 2023
Meantime, BC Wildfire Service says its paying “particular attention” to the northeastern portion of the province.
Neal McLoughlin, service superintendent of predictive services, said that as B.C. experiences hotter conditions in the coming days, people can maybe expect more prohibitions and bans put in place.
“It’s realizing any activity could cause a fire.”
McLoughlin noted the ridge of high pressure moving into the province could lead to temperatures in the mid-30s in southern portions of the province and high 20s, low 30s in the north.
But he said the province is seeing the usual number of fires at the this time of year.
“Looking at the past 20 years, we would’ve expected about 141 fires and that’s exactly what we’re seeing this year.”