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Special weather statement issued for Whistler as temperatures tick back up

Temperatures still won't reach levels seen earlier this summer
summer paddleboarding Alta lake - whistler - sun
Paddleboarding on Whistler's Alta Lake is one way to stay cool during hot weather.

Environment Canada has issued a special weather statement for Whistler and the rest of the Sea to Sky corridor as "a strengthening ridge of high pressure" heads toward the region, bringing clear skies and hot temperatures with it. 

That weather system will hover over the South Coast from Thursday to Saturday, when temperatures are expected to reach a high of 32 degrees C in Whistler and 36 degrees C in Pemberton. Temperatures are expected to begin dipping back down on Sunday. 

The Sea to Sky region was not included in the heat warning issued by Environment Canada on Wednesday for regions like the Sunshine Coast and B.C.'s Interior, despite the fact that temperatures in Whistler are predicted to surpass those in Sechelt and other coastal areas. 

However, the warnings prompted medical health officers from Fraser Health and Vancouver Coastal Health (VCH) authorities to issue a joint press release reminding residents to take precautions, following the deadly heat wave that hit B.C. last month.

"We are not expecting this week’s temperatures to reach the levels we experienced during the extreme heat event at the end of last month, but consecutive days and nights of high temperatures do pose a risk of heat-related illness,” said VCH medical health officer Dr. Michael Schwandt in the release. 

Overnight lows are also expected to remain in the mid-teens over the next few days, he added. “In this part of the province we have historically relied on cooler nights to help homes and buildings cool down, and to help us recover from the health impacts of daytime heat. High indoor temperatures can be especially dangerous for older adults and those with chronic conditions,” Schwandt said. 

According to VCH, symptoms of heat-related illness can range in severity and may include thirst, dizziness, confusion, weakness, heavy sweating, muscle cramping, nausea and fainting or collapsing. 

The risks of suffering from heat-related ilness are greater for young children, pregnant women, older adults, people with chronic illnesses and people working or exercising outdoors, the special weather statement explained.

“Heat stress can pose an immediate danger to health. If you are experiencing any symptoms, it’s important to get out of the sun, find a cool location and hydrate,” said Dr. Emily Newhouse, medical health officer with Fraser Health.

”Remember to check in with older people who may begin to feel unwell as temperatures remain warm this week. You can help by checking if they are able to stay cool and calling for medical assistance if appropriate.”

Environment Canada recommends drinking plenty of water—even before you feel thirsty—and staying in a cool place to help mitigate the effects of the heat.

If indoor temperatures feel too hot even with windows and doors open and shades closed, officials recommend moving to a cooler environment. Otherwise, sleep in the coolest area of your home possible, and keep water by your bedside to sip throughout the night.

Other tips to beat the heat include seeking out air-conditioned facilities, heading to public splash pools, water parks, taking a cool bath or shower. 

VCH reminds locals that fans alone are not effective in high temperatures. "Applying cool water mist or wet towels prior to sitting in front of a fan is a quick way to cool off," the release reads. 

Avoid any tiring work or exercise in the heat, VCH added. "If you must exercise or conduct strenuous work, drink two to four glasses of non-alcoholic fluids each hour. Limit daytime outdoor activity to early morning and evening." 

The health authority advises employers to consider delaying or modifying outdoor work during high heat, offering employees frequent cooling breaks and ensuring workers remain hydrated.