The heat and humidity in the Fraser Valley created air pollution, which in turn prompted air quality alert on Aug. 17, 2020. (Chilliwack Progress file)

Searing heat and humidity leads to air quality alert

The high concentrations of ozone are expected to continue today, and maybe longer

The searing Sunday temperatures led to a spike in air pollution triggering an air quality alert Monday morning for the Fraser Valley and Metro Vancouver.

A special air quality statement from Environment Canada went out at just before 5 a.m. on Aug. 17 to say the hot and humid weather was creating elevated pollution, with high concentrations of ground level ozone being recorded.

RELATED: Temps of 35 degrees + forecast for Sunday

“These high concentrations are expected to continue today, and potentially longer as the hot weather continues,” according to the alert.

The AQ alert was issued for the central, east and west Fraser Valley including Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Hope, as well as Metro Vancouver, and East Kootenay on Monday.

Air pollution exposure is particularly of concern for children, the elderly, and those who have underlying medical conditions such as lung or heart disease.

Weather forecasters predicted the mercury would reach the mid-30s Celsius and it did.

It was a record-breaking 35.8 degrees C in Chilliwack on Sunday, Aug. 16, making it the hottest day of 2020, according to Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada. The record temp was 12 degrees above normal. There were similarly scorching temperatures reached in nearby communities.

RELATED: Air quality in the FV took a deep dive in 2018

Wildfire smoke is always a worry.

“If you or those in your care are exposed to wildfire smoke, consider taking extra precautions to reduce your exposure. Wildfire smoke is a constantly-changing mixture of particles and gasses which includes many chemicals that can harm your health.”


Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email:
jfeinberg@theprogress.com


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