July’s weather was dry and hot, and our local meteorologist forecasts that trend will continue in August.
Ron Lakeman, meteorologist at the Southeast Fire Centre, says temperatures are expected to remain high and smoke from fires burning north and west of Castlegar are expected to come this way.
“It still looks mainly sunny. There’s probably going to be quite a bit of smoke over the next little while. There’s been a change in the direction of the upper flow, so a lot of the smoke, which is coming from fires off to our north and west will be moving across this area now,” he explains.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy included the West Kootenays in a Smoky Skies Bulletin issued for the region. The ministry advises against strenuous outdoor activity, and anyone experiencing difficulty breathing, chest pain or discomfort and sudden onset cough or irritation of airways should contact their health provider.
“Exposure is particularly a concern for infants, the elderly and those who have underlying medical conditions such as diabetes, and lung or heart disease,” according to the release.
Lakeman predicts highs will remain around 33 to 36 degrees and says forecasts show no chance of rain for at least another 10 to 14 days.
The last rain was on July 14, when Castlegar received 0.2 millimeters — Lakeman says it was the third-driest and third-hottest July on record.
In total, Castlegar received 1.6 mm of rain this July and the mean monthly temperature was 23.1 degrees. The highest temperature reached was 38.2 degrees on July 7 and the lowest temperature was 8.9 degrees on July 18.
The driest July on record was 1985, when the city received “a trace of rain” and the second driest was in 2003, when it received 0.4 mm.
The hottest July on record was in 2007, when the mean monthly temperature was 24.2 degrees. July 1985 takes the second spot.
anticipates new summer record
Meanwhile BC Hydro expects the province-wide electricity demand “to reach record breaking highs for summer peak hourly demand this week,” according to a release. The increase in demand is attributed to high temperatures.
BC Hydro recorded the highest peak hourly demand of the summer on Monday at 7,297 megawatts, according to the release, and expects peak hourly demand to hit 7,500 to 7,800 megawatts over the next few days, breaking the previous summer record of 7,468 megawatts set on Aug. 11, 2014.
The highest peak hourly demand ever was set during the winter, on Jan. 3, 2017, when consumption reached 10,124 megawatts between 5 and 6 p.m.