In the concerning US-Canada Heat Wave, hundreds have been reported dead so far due to the monster heat wave that has swept the nations. The scorching heatwave has hit the Pacific Northeast side – Canada and some US states – and has sent temperatures to an unheard high of nearly 50 degrees Celsius.
The heat waves have left millions of North-Pacific residents vulnerable to scorching heat and covered in copious amount of sweat. According to British Columbia’s Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe, as many as 486 deaths were registered between Friday and Wednesday afternoon. This is a significant surge in the number of deaths as around 165 deaths used to be usually reported in the similar period.
As to the reason of deaths, experts are claiming several families lived in households without air conditioning. Since then, several hundred families have been pushed to take shelter at government operated cooling centers. These shelters include stadiums, public halls, etc.
SR 544 between milepost 7 and 8 near Everson is still closed due to the road buckling. Continue to use detour routes this morning.
Our maintenance crews are working on it and hope to have the road back open by afternoon. https://t.co/mJXsW7Azkc
— WSDOT North (@wsdot_north) June 28, 2021
What do we know about heat wave?
A ‘heat wave’ is a hot spell where the temperature surges past the historical average in a region for continuous 2 days. While the definition of heat wave varies from region to region – the concept remains the same. Heat waves originate when the atmosphere’s high pressure pushes the warm air down towards the ground. As it comes down compressed, the air warms up even more and makes an average person feel hotter than the recorded temperature.
Moreover, this high-pressure system that comes down on the ground, then expands vertically. Due to this phenomenon, the cloud cover is minimized and the winds are also lesser. As a consequence, to all these minor phenomena, the air feels stifling and heat wave becomes a system that wrecks it havoc on a particular region for days and even weeks.
What is a heat dome?
You may come across as news reports labeling the current region that are facing the heatwave as ‘heat dome’. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. (NOAA) of the US states that a heat dome occurs when the atmosphere traps the hot ocean air like a cap.
When the ground warms up, moisture is lesser than ever making it easier for the ground to warm up even more. In the drought-prone Western region, the intensity of heat is way too high and atmosphere traps this heat.
What are the prominent regions where a heat wave is experienced in North America/Canada?
On the upper echelon of the list sits Salem, Ore which is located near Portland. In Salem the temperature touched a whopping 47.2 degrees Celsius. On June 26, Sunday, Portland International Airport recorded a high of 44.4 and on June 27, a high of 46.1. To give our readers some perspective as to just how high these temperatures have been, it should be noted that the high of 46.1 was the hottest temperature ever recorded since 1940 when temperature record-keeping began.
Meanwhile, Canada, which is often laden in snow and where temperature barely crosses single digit, the national heat record was made on June 26 when the temperature crossed 46 degrees Celsius – breaking another record which was 84 years-old by 3 degrees.
Canada’s western province too has been living in hellish heat with temperature reaching up to a never before and unheard 49.5 degrees Celsius.