Near-record heat on Canada Day

At 29.7C, the Parksville Qualicum Beach region was only .3C off the high-temperature record for July 1

PRESENCE: Oceanside RCMP were in their vehicles

High-temperature records were set in 15 communities across the province Canada Day and while there were rumours, in the end the Parksville Qualicum Beach area didn’t quite join the club.

“At 29.7 C the Qualicum Beach weather station nearly broke the July 1 record of 30 C set in 1915,” said Matt McDonald, Environment Canada meteorologist.

Canada Day was the hottest of the week, “as a ridge of high pressure reached its full amplitude,” McDonald said, giving data from the Qualicum Beach Airport, the only official weather station between Nanaimo and Comox.

The hourly readings showed the temperature above an unseasonable 28 C for more than four hours from around 4 p.m. while the humidex made the peak feel like 34 C.

The same front pushed temperatures up across western North America, hitting 53 C in Death Valley, California and setting a number of all-time records in the U.S. southwest, McDonald pointed out.

As the ridge passes the heat is expected to ease off, “but we’re still in for a gorgeous stretch, right near the normals around 23-24 C,” McDonald said Tuesday.

It will then pick back up again later in the week and could approach 30 again.

The all-time record for the area was 34 C set in August 1981.

The hot, dry conditions are also increasing the wildfire danger, with the east side of Vancouver Island rated as moderate danger. There are no wildfires currently in the region but the area is under a Category 2 open fire ban meaning there are some restrictions. Controlled fires like campfires are generally allowed, check with the local camp site, park or fire department.