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Alberta is in a weather-free zone during heat wave, Environment and Climate Change Canada explains


Much of Alberta will experience extreme heat starting Thursday and continuing into the weekend, Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) is warning. 

As of Thursday morning, a heat warning was in effect for all of central Alberta, as far south as Lethbridge and as far north as Grande Prairie. More of northern Alberta will see temperatures near 29 C as the week progresses, ECCC predicted. 

The forecast is five to 10 degrees higher than normal, according to ECCC senior climatologist David Phillips. 

"We've already had a year's worth of 30-degree temperatures this year and we haven't even reached the first day of summer officially," he told CTV News Edmonton during an interview.

"My sense is we've had the opening act, the dress rehearsal, and likely what we're going to see – if our models are right – is more of the same."


While Alberta is experiencing is not a heat dome, Phillips noted. Instead, he said the correct terminology is an upper ridge. 

"Meteorologically, it's very similar. It's air that's covered over you. It's not moving. It doesn't let weather in. It only forces weather to go around it," he explained. 

"So it's almost as if you're in a weather-free zone. I know that sounds crazy. But it's almost as if you're not having enough weather. We like a balance in life. We like a balance in weather, too."

Extreme heat that lasted between 12 and 15 days in western Canada in 2021 and caused hundreds of deaths was a heat dome, Phillips said. 


"It'll be a challenging week for Edmontonians because of the fact that there is wall-to-wall sunshine, high temperatures, and no relief in sight," Phillips said. 

During extreme heat, the public is advised to limit their outdoor activities during the hottest parts of the day, stay hydrated, take frequent breaks, and monitor for symptoms of heat stroke or exhaustion, particularly in people who are more vulnerable. 

"Ideally, hydration begins the day before – 12 to 24 hours before – going outside. But again, try to stay hydrated with water throughout the day if you are outside," Alberta Health Services public information officer Adam Loria said. 

While the Alberta Electric System Operator is expecting continued high demand, it does not anticipate needing to issue another alert like it did Wednesday, when the province's grid was affected by high usage because of the hot temperatures, low wind generation, and two thermogenerators falling offline.

"Conditions on the grid look fine today," communications manager Leif Sollid told CTV News Edmonton on Thursday.

"Things could change very quickly, but right now, we're very confident that we'll be fine."

The City of Edmonton has installed water bottle filling stations throughout the city and peace officers will be handing out water. 

The 24/7 Crisis Diversion team can be reached by calling 211 and 911 should be called in emergencies. 

With files from CTV News Edmonton's Nicole Lampa and Heather Grant Top Stories

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