Since Friday, police in the Vancouver region have dealt with more than 130 sudden fatalities. The majority were old or had severe medical issues, with heat being a major role.
On Tuesday, Canada set a new temperature record of 49.6 degrees Celsius (121.3 degrees Fahrenheit) in Lytton, British Columbia.
The northwestern United States has also had record highs, as well as a number of fatalities.
Extreme weather phenomena, such as heatwaves, are projected to become more common as a result of climate change, according to experts. However, it is difficult to attribute any particular incident to global warming.
A dome of stagnant high-pressure hot air ranging from California to the Arctic territories has generated heat across western Canada and the United States. Temperatures have been cooling off in coastal places, but inland areas aren’t seeing any relief.
Temperatures in Canada had never exceeded 45 degrees Celsius before Sunday.
Premier John Horgan of British Columbia claimed the province’s hottest week has resulted in “disastrous effects for families and communities.”
As several localities claim to have responded to sudden death situations but have yet to compile the figures, the number of heat-related deaths is likely to climb.
Heat is suspected to have been a major factor in the deaths of 65 individuals in Vancouver alone since Friday.
“I’ve been a police officer for 15 years and I’ve never experienced the volume of sudden deaths that have come in in such a short period of time,” police sergeant Steve Addison said. Three or four a day is the normal number.
People were “finding them deceased” when they arrived at relatives’ homes, he claimed.
Hundreds of officers have been reassigned throughout the city, while an increase in the number of emergency calls has resulted in a delay and a reduction in police resources.
From Friday to Monday, British Columbia Chief Coroner Lisa Lapointe said there had been 100 more deaths than usual.
All of Canada’s recent record highs have been set at Lytton, a little community about 155 miles (250 kilometers) east of Vancouver and not far south of London.
Meghan Fandrich, a resident, described going outside as “nearly impossible.”
She told the Globe & Mail newspaper, “It’s been terrible.” “We’re attempting to remain as much as possible indoors. We’re acclimated to the heat, and it’s a dry heat, but 30 degrees isn’t the same as 47 degrees.”
Many residences in British Columbia don’t even have air conditioning because summer temperatures are normally much warmer. Water fountains and cooling stations have been organized on a short-term basis.
Environment Canada, the country’s weather office, has posted heat warnings for parts of British Columbia and Alberta, as well as Saskatchewan, the Northwest Territories, and Manitoba.
According to the BBC, Jodi Hughes, a weather anchor for Global News Calgary, firefighters are highly concerned about the likelihood of wildfires, which might be caused by thunderstorms when the weather pattern shifts.