Dozens of people have died in Canada as a result of an extreme heat wave that has broken all previous records.

According to the latest figures, more than 500 people have dead as a result of the heat wave. This unexpected climatic change has prompted Canadians to face record-breaking temperatures, with temperatures reaching over 49.5 degrees Celsius.

BAD OR WORSE?

Canada broke its country temperature record for three straight days with 49.6C (121.3F) in the village of Lytton, British Columbia. A wildfire has now burned 90% of the village and damaged critical infrastructure, local officials say.

The heat over western parts of Canada and the US has been caused by a dome of static high-pressure hot air stretching from California to the Arctic territories. Temperatures have been easing in coastal areas but there is not much respite for inland regions.

In Vancouver, residents reported car windows cracking and melting, even when they were not parked in the sun.

Vaccination centres were forced to close or relocate, schools shut their doors and some public transport was suspended. The heat has been so intense it has melted power cables and buckled roads.

Why is it happening?

A “heat dome” – a mountain of warm air pressing down across a large area – is to blame for the persistently high temperatures.

As warm air tries to rise, it is pushed back down to the surface by the high-pressure system above. As it is compressed, it becomes denser and hotter.

Experts predict that extreme weather events like heatwaves will become more common as a result of climate change. However, it is difficult to link any single event to global warming.

How to ward off the heat

  • Stay cool –It may seem obvious, but if your body temperature rises above 40˚C (104 degrees Fahrenheit), heat-stroke can occur, necessitating immediate medical attention since it can cause loss of consciousness, organ failure, and even death.

To reduce the warmth of the room, close the drapes. Try to stay under fans, or AC.

  • Danger signs include sweat stopping – feeling hot, but dry – and breathing difficulties
  • Food and water- And obviously again, drink water (and avoid diuretics like caffeine) – and don’t take your thirst as a guide, as you could still be dehydrating. Food with high water content is good; having to digest heavy meals isn’t
  • Stay in the shade- Stay Indoors if you can. Limit travel to cooler parts of the day if possible.
  • Clothing- Try to keep covered, but with fabrics like linen and cotton that are more breathable. Wear a hat, preferably with ventilations

Canada not being the only country affected,

Hundreds of people have died in British Columbia as a result of the extreme heat.

The north-western United States has also had record highs, as well as several fatalities. For three days in a row, Portland, a city known for its rainy climate, smashed its all-time high-temperature record.

In India, the blistering heat has swept through North India with heatwave conditions recorded in most places in Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh, Delhi, west Uttar Pradesh, northwest Rajasthan, and northwest Madhya Pradesh.

Scientists have said that human beings and global warming is not the only one to blame for this deadly heat wave, but we surely accelerated the process tenfold.