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  • Sun. April 23 - Extreme heat may hit Island again this summer

Sun. April 23 - Extreme heat may hit Island again this summer

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Good morning !

Yesterday we looked at some encouraging climate-and-environment news for the Island, but today we look at some that is a bit more concerning: The possibility of drought, fire, and intense temperatures this summer.

After that, we bring you a fellow reader’s request for your History Mystery skills in tracking down the location of an old family photo he found.

Cam Welch

Heat—and possibly fire—expected this summer

📸 Finlayson Arm burns in early October. Photo: James MacDonald / Capital Daily

This month the province warned BC residents to be wary of flooding this spring and of heat and wildfires this summer (and even in late spring). An especially hot summer is being projected for BC by weather analyses including the Farmers’ Almanac, although Environment Canada’s official summer projections will not come out until next month.

There is a broader expectation of extreme heat globally this year. El Niño conditions, typically associated with higher temperatures, are returning after years that already often featured record heat despite being under the typically cooler La Niña conditions.

The Island may currently be less in danger of melting-snow floods than most of BC, since it has among the lowest snowpack levels (76% of normal as of earlier this week, compared to BC’s 88% average). But that only amplifies drought risks. The Island was hit hard by the record-setting fall 2022 drought and heat that the province is now citing as part of the reason for concern going into this summer.

“As a result of drought conditions, the BC Wildfire Service is observing more advanced fire behaviour than what is typical at this time of year,” Forests Minister Bruce Ralston said in this month’s weather warning announcement.

The Island has had extreme drought conditions for much of the past two summers. Despite that, its populated areas have been mostly unaffected by fire—unlike regions such as Lytton, which two years later is still not yet being rebuilt.

But as we saw in 2021, the heat alone can do plenty of damage. That summer, heat killed 55 Islanders and more than 600 BC residents.

As another hot summer approaches, 2021 heat still being researched

Most BC “heat dome” victims were older, most lacked fans or air conditioners at home, and most had three or more chronic physical and/or mental health disorders. A new study this year found that many chronic conditions were associated with significant increases in mortality in the heat dome—including diabetes, asthma, substance use disorder, and particularly schizophrenia

The province’s 2022 report was criticized for under-incorporating disability concerns, and as another summer approaches there are concerns the province still hasn’t done enough to prepare to protect its most at-risk residents.

The BC CDC continues analyzing heat dome deaths and hospital visits, while a month ago UVic and the Capital Regional District launched a survey on recent extreme heat in our region. It is intended to learn more about how that heat in the region has affected people, especially vulnerable populations, to help with local response planning.

The dome also caused plenty of non-human harm in Island waters. It is believed to have damaged undersea cables transporting power between the Island and mainland, and it killed intertidal creatures all across Island coastlines as part of the estimated billions deaths of BC marine species during the event. Another year of extreme heat could stymie the recoveries these populations began making in 2022.

By Cam Welch

Capital Bulletin

🌧️ Cloudy today. Rain beginning in the afternoon and ending after midnight. Some wind. High 11C / low 6C.

🚴 Closures at Jordie Lunn Bike Park this coming week due to slope maintenance at the upper and lower Irwin dam crossings.


History Mystery #11: Help a fellow reader find out where his grandfather posed for this photo

📸 Image (cropped) from Kevin Frye

With the recent weather not having been the most conducive to getting a whole crew out for photos, we’re going to put a pin in last week’s group-photo History Mystery for now and bring it back a little later.

But for this weekend, we have a whole new twist on the photo challenge: One of our History Mystery guessers has a mystery photo of their own, and is hoping you can help identify it.

Kevin Frye sent us a photo from his family archives that he and his relatives have tried and failed to place.

“It is an image of my late grandfather Cleve Leask, taken in the spring of 1962 somewhere in Victoria,” he wrote. “We do know that he never took his blue Pontiac sedan off the Island, and very seldom travelled up-Island with it, so the location has to be somewhere local—but where is it?”

Key elements that may help your search include the cluster street light, a possible heritage sign, the apparent slope at the right and solid railing at the left, the multi-level building in the background, and what appears to be a police officer talking to a driver near the photo’s centre.

Email us your best guesses, and if you do find the location then we encourage you to recreate the photo (’56 Pontiac optional).



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In Case You Missed It

🌊 Salvaging the sacred: As floods and other extreme weather become more frequent, a new program is working to protect and restore Island First Nations’ cultural items. [Capital Daily]

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🐋 ​​Grey whales’ incredible migration: Eastern Pacific grey whales are passing by the Island this season as part of the longest seasonal migration by any mammal. Learn about their migration, the risks they still face, and their significance to Island First Nations at Capital Daily.

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