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Heatwave breaks at least one daily record in St. Albert

The heatwave gripping St. Albert, and much of Alberta, this week has already made history by breaking at least one daily temperature record, if not multiple.
Water starts spraying at the city's Woodlands Water Play Park, pictured here, at 10:00 a.m. everyday for those looking to cool off this week. FILE/Photo

The heatwave gripping St. Albert, and much of Alberta, this week has already made history by breaking at least one daily temperature record, if not multiple.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced on Tuesday morning that Monday's daytime high of 32.6 degrees C broke the daily temperature record for July 8 in St. Albert, which was previously set at 32.2 degrees C and recorded in 1964.

According to historical weather data kept by the province, there have only been five occurrences since 1900 that the temperature on July 8 in St. Albert was above 30 degrees C, including this year. The previous occurrences were in 1964 when the previous record was set; in 2012 when the temperature reached 30.7 degrees C; in 2015 when the temperature reached 31.32 degrees C; and in 2021 when the temperature reached 31.71 degrees C.

As of Tuesday afternoon ECCC hadn't announced whether or not the daytime high of 33 or 34 degrees C on Tuesday in St. Albert was a new record, although the same provincial data shows that it's possible given the existing record was set at about the 33 degree C mark back in 2015. The historical data shows that there were only two occurrences between 1901 and 2000 where the daytime high on July 9 reached 30 degrees C: in 1964 when the temperature reached 31.64 degrees C, and in 1968 when the temperature reached 30.69 degrees C.

Since 2000 there have been four instances of temperatures breaching the 30 degree C mark on July 9: 2012 (32.02 degrees C); the record setting 33.14 degrees C in 2015; and in 2021 (32.03 degrees C).

Wednesday's daytime high of 34 or 35 degrees C may also break the existing daily temperature record in St. Albert, as the existing record for July 10 is around the 33.5 degrees C mark, and was recorded in 2001.

July 10 has historically been a pretty hot day in St. Albert as there are 10 recorded instances between 1900 and 2023 where temperatures surpassed, or were extremely close to, 30 degrees C.

Provincial data shows that in 1926 the daytime high reached 30.32 degrees C; in 1939 the daytime high was 30.13 degrees C; in 1969 it was 30.72 degrees C; in 1985 it was 30.38 degrees C; in 2002 it was 31.64 degrees C; in 2012 it was 31.82 degrees C; and in 2021 it was 32.54 degrees C.

The years where the daytime high stayed just barely below 30 degrees C on July 10 were 1949 when the temperature reached 29.99 degrees C; 1975 when the temperature reached 29.42 degrees C; and 2015 when the temperature reached 29.1 degrees C.

Staying cool

The extreme heat led ECCC to issue a prolonged heat warning for the St. Albert and the surrounding municipalities on Monday morning, and the City of St. Albert activated its extreme weather response on Monday afternoon.

The city's extreme weather response measures, which are expected to stay in place until the weekend, include city facilities being open as “cooling stations” where people can go to get out of the heat, public transit being available for free for those who need to get out of the sun, and RCMP officers having bottles of water available in their vehicles and at the department's headquarters on Boudreau Road.

The city facilities open as cooling stations include St. Albert Place downtown, which is open from 7:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. on weekdays; Servus Place in Campbell Business Park, which is open from 5:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. on weekdays; and the Jensen Lakes Library, which is open from 12:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. on Thursday, and 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. on Friday.

The city says to avoid heat stroke or heat exhaustion, it's recommended that residents stay hydrated, avoid heavy exertion, wear sunscreen and dress for the weather, and try not use appliances that produce heat like stoves or ovens.

“Heat affects everyone differently,” reads the city's extreme heat notice. “The very aged and very young are more susceptible to heat so please keep an eye on friends, neighbours and family members.”

“Please take precautions to keep you and your family safe during extreme temperatures.”

The city's notice also says that those who are unhoused are facing greater risk of heat exhaustion and stroke, and if you're concerned about someone without shelter from the heat you can call the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village at 780-459-0599 or the city's community services department at 780-459-1756.

St. Albert residents who responded to a Gazette Facebook post about the heatwave also had a host of creative suggestions for staying cool this week, such as putting some clothes and bed sheets in your freezer prior to using them; hanging Mylar emergency blankets or sheets of tin foil in sun-facing windows to reflect the heat; putting ice packs in your pillowcase just before you go to bed; and if it comes down to it, sleeping in your bathtub if you have one.

Little relief in sight

Although the Weather Network's 14-day forecast shows that St. Albertans can expect a bit of rain this weekend, which will cool things off to about 25 degrees C on Saturday, the heat will stick around for most of next week as well as the forecast is calling for daytime highs of 28 degrees C, 30 degrees C, and 28 degrees C next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, respectively.

A meteorologist with ECCC, Justin Shelley, told the Gazette late last week that the heat was the result of a high pressure ridge moving east across North America, although the northern United States would receive the worst of the ridge's offerings.

“We’re going to be in this warm pattern for the foreseeable future,” Shelley said.

Jack Farrell

About the Author: Jack Farrell

Jack Farrell joined the St. Albert Gazette in May, 2022.
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