On Sunday and the following days, the small mountain town of Lytton, British Columbia, became one of the hottest places in the world with 47.9C. This is a public health emergency now for a large area. “It’s warmer in parts of western Canada than in Dubai,” said David Phillips, senior climatologist for Environment Canada. Climate change is not just warming the surface of the planet, it’s warming Earth’s entire troposphere and in mountainous areas temperatures are rising even faster than elsewhere. A 2015 study found that mountainous areas above 2,000 meters (6,500ft) are warming about 75% faster than places at lower elevations. Scores of deaths along the U.S. West Coast and in the Vancouver metro area in Canada are being blamed on an ongoing heat wave that has broken records. At least 233 people died in the British Columbia province between Friday and Monday. Heat is believed to be a contributing factor in the majority of these cases.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police urged people in the metro Vancouver area to check on loved ones and neighbors as the heat wave continues. Deaths due to warm weather conditions were confirmed in the U.S. in Washington and Oregon. In Seattle, temperatures reached at least 108 degrees at one point, and in Spokane, temperatures reached 109 degrees, the highest temperature ever recorded there. According to the WHO, heat waves are considered among the most dangerous of natural hazards.