Extreme heat sizzles western Canada
Wednesday, July 3, 2013, 6:28 -
British Columbia didn't quite live up to pre-Canada Day predictions of all-time record shattering heat, but while the mark for the highest-ever Canadian temperature was not reached over the long weekend, the sizzling weather fried many local records.
In all, Environment Canada lists 15 new heat records set on Canada Day in communities from the south coast to the north and southeastern corners of BC.
Forecasters had predicted the sub-tropical heat wave would smash Canada's all-time high temperature of 44.4 degrees set in Lytton and Lillooet in 1941, but while Lytton reached a steamy 40.5 degrees on Canada Day, making it a hot spot for the country, the Fraser Canyon village didn't break its all-time high, or even its daily record.
Rolling blackouts in Alberta due to extreme heat
The soaring temperatures have pushed Alberta's demand for electricity beyond what it can deliver, so the power regulator has ordered some utility companies to use less, causing rolling blackouts. Epcor in Edmonton and the City of Lethbridge are cutting power to certain areas for up to an hour after the Alberta Electric System Operator ordered them to shed 100 megawatts of demand. The operator says flood-affected areas, such as Calgary and High River, as well as hospital and emergency services do not have to reduce power load.
AESO says the record demand is due to a number of factors, including temperatures higher than 30 C across the province.
It also says other factors include a number of generators being offline for maintenance, a transformer unexpectedly went out of service and wind generation was low.
The operator says it is importing electricity from B.C. and Saskatchewan to help meet demand.
A cold front that pushed through on Tuesday evening has helped to cool the extreme humidex values. It also helped to trigger severe thunderstorms in some areas.
At one point, a tornado warning was in place for the City of Edmonton and forecasters saw rotation on the radar. So far, there have been no reports of funnel clouds or touchdowns, but about a dozen campers were banged up when the storms pushed through.
With files from The Canadian Press