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Smoke over the Lower Mainland is helping to dull the heat wave

Last Updated Aug 2, 2017 at 10:19 am PST

The sunrise through smoke and haze in Metro Vancouver. (Darren Grieve, NEWS 1130 Photo)
Summary

Poor air quality is expected to stick around for a little while longer

Temperatures are expected to 'cool down' to about 30 degrees next week

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – The smoky haze we saw over Metro Vancouver earlier this week is expected to get even thicker today.

The province’s air quality health index is sitting at a seven in some northern parts of the region, which means the risk to people’s health is high, however, there is a silver lining to all that smoke drifting in from wildfires in the Interior.

Hot temperatures can be dangerous especially if you have:

  • breathing difficulties
  • heart problems
  • hypertension
  • kidney problems
  • a mental illness such as depression or dementia
  • Parkinson’s disease or if you take medication for any of these conditions

 

Environment Canada‘s Alyssa Charbonneau explains the smoke is acting like a cloud blocking out heat from the sun and it’s giving us a bit of reprieve from potentially record-breaking temperatures, making it feel several degrees cooler than it really is. The problem is it’s unpredictable. “Just what concentration of smoke we’re going to see really is hard to forecast at this point and that’s going to have a big role to play in just how hot we get.”

The effects of the wildfire smoke can also vary depending on where you live in the region. “Wildfire smoke can really vary in intensity over time and also over locations as well. It’s hard to predict and it will lead to lots of small variations in just how hot it’s going to get right across the region.”

That also makes the health risk hard to predict but Metro Vancouver Air Quality Planner Geoff Doerksen says it’s best to play it safe. “Certainly, people with underlying medical conditions should postpone strenuous exercise until the advisory is lifted.”

He adds we’re in for at least one smokier day but probably more.

Environment Canada says inland temperatures on Thursday and Friday could be closer to 34 degrees but it should cool to about 30 degrees by next week.