Historic heat wave in Canada and the United States

British Columbia has reached 46.6 degrees Celsius. Cities like Portland and Seattle have also broken records

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Emergency services give fresh water to man living in a trailer in Seattle

BarcelonaWestern Canada and North American states like Washington and Oregon have recorded extraordinary and unprecedented temperatures this weekend. On Sunday the thermometer climbed to 46.6 ºC in the town of Lytton, located in the region of British Columbia, Canada. This is the highest temperature ever recorded in the country, according to the Canadian Meteorological Service. The previous record was set on July 5th, 1937, when it reached 45 degrees Celsius in a town called Yellow Grass.

There are almost sixty observatories in this region of Canada that have beaten their historical temperature record on Sunday, including, for example, the Vancouver airport, where it had never reached 30 degrees. Sunday's high was 31.1 degrees Celsius, almost 4 degrees higher than the previous record, which dates back to 1935.

The heat wave is also hitting the northwest of the United States hard, where several records have fallen. At Portland airport temperatures reached 44.4 ºC and for the second day in a row broke the city's all-time record, which until Friday stood at 41.6 ºC. In 1965 and 1981 the extreme temperatures had come more in the middle of summer, in July and August, respectively.

As had already happened in Europe in 2017, the extreme heat is arriving in the middle latitudes of the northern hemisphere clearly before the heatwave, that is, the period in which usually the most extreme temperatures usually occur. Just then, in 2017, an article from the State Meteorological Agency concluded that the risk of heat waves during June had already multiplied by 10 in 30 years due to climate change.

The heat episode is causing temperatures 15 to 17 degrees higher than normal in states such as Oregon and Washington, according to the U.S. Weather Service. In Portland, a city characterised by a climate similar to Britain's, most shops have run out of fans and air conditioners. It is a "life-threatening" heat wave, according to health officials in the region. It should be noted that cities such as Vancouver, Seattle and Portland are not particularly prone to high heat. They are usually dominated by a cool, damp wind.

In Seattle, in the state of Washington, a record temperature of 40 degrees Celsius was also reached. Emergency services have warned of several stretches of road where the asphalt has cracked or been affected by the heat, and it has even happened on major highways.

Forecasts suggest that within the next few days the heat will still be extreme in many of these places, and may even break some of the records of the weekend, but as the week progresses the higher temperatures will disappear.