NewsWorldWestern Canada and the United States under a historic...

Western Canada and the United States under a historic “heat dome”


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In the US cities of Portland and Seattle, as well as around the Canadian city of Vancouver, the temperature reached its highest level on Monday. This heat wave, caused by high pressures trapping hot air in the area, is expected to last all week.

Schools and vaccination centers against the Covid-19 closed, Olympic selection events staggered and residents taking refuge in “refreshment” centers: Western Canada and the United States again beaten new “historic” records on Monday June 28. temperatures caused by a “heat dome” of extremely rare intensity.

In Portland (Oregon) and Seattle (Washington State), two large cities in the northwestern United States often mocked for their cold and humid climate, the temperature reached its highest level ever recorded since the archives began, in 1940.

It was 46.1 degrees Celsius at Portland airport Monday afternoon (after a record 44.4 degrees the day before) and 41.6 degrees at Seattle, according to readings by the US Weather Service, the National Weather Service (NWS).

47.5 degrees in Canada

But it is western Canada that still holds the palm. In Lytton, a village northeast of Vancouver, the mercury climbed to 47.5 degrees on Monday. The highest temperature ever recorded in Canada was previously 45 degrees in 1937.

In the region, air conditioners and fans are out of stock, while cities have opened cooling centers. Vaccination campaigns against Covid-19 have been canceled, and schools closed.

“A prolonged, dangerous and historic heat wave will persist throughout this week,” Environment Canada warned, issuing alerts for British Columbia, Alberta and parts of Saskatchewan, Northern Territories. West and Yukon, border with Alaska.

“Extremely dangerous”

On the other side of the border, too, Americans are suffering from the sweltering temperatures in the Northwestern states. “This level of heat is extremely dangerous,” the NWS warned on Monday.

A Seattle market, the Ballard Farmers Market, had to close earlier, probably a first “because of the heat,” its director, Doug Farr, told AFP. “Most of the time it’s because of the snow.”

On Monday, the Amazon group announced that it was opening part of its Seattle headquarters to the public to make it a refreshment point with a capacity of a thousand seats. Many homes do not have air conditioners in this generally very temperate city.

In Portland too, many residents find refuge in the cool on mattresses and folding chairs in air-conditioned places improvised by local authorities.

Not far from there, in the city of Eugene, the last events of the American Olympic athletics selections had to be postponed on Sunday due to the heatwave.


The extreme heat, combined with an intense drought in the American West, favored several fires that broke out over the weekend. The “Lava Fire”, on the edge of Oregon and California, had already burned some 600 hectares Monday morning, forcing the authorities to evacuate some residents and to close a national road.

This heat wave is explained by a phenomenon called “heat dome”: high pressures trap hot air in the region. What cause serious health concerns, according to specialists.

The intensity of this “heat dome” is “so statistically rare that one might only expect it once every few thousand years on average,” wrote weather scientists at the Washington Post. “But human-induced climate change has made these kinds of exceptional events more likely.”

According to Nick Bond, climatologist at the University of Washington, climate change is a factor here, certainly, but “secondary”. “The main element is this very unusual weather model” of the heat dome, he told AFP. That “being said, climate change is real, our temperatures have warmed up here” which “made this episode of heat even more severe”.

With AFP



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