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B.C. heat wave subsides

Lisa Varano, staff writer

August 19, 2010 — Coastal British Columbia has been breaking temperature records and sweating it out. Many people in the area do not have air conditioning because the summer isn't typically this hot.

British Columbia is cooling down.
British Columbia is cooling down.

Vancouver started the week with temperatures in the 30's, but is ending the week with temperatures back to the seasonal low 20's, and falling.

By the weekend, the Lower Mainland will only be in the mid to high teens, and the area will get some light rain -- something it hasn't seen very much of this summer.

A cold front is passing through British Columbia, and that is what has caused the cool down. “The pattern is changing. Whereas we had a ridge, high pressure, and dry conditions in place, we now have a trough, cooler conditions, and Pacific lows moving into the coast,” says Michelle Cassar, a meteorologist at The Weather Network.

The latest stretch of hot weather in B.C. sent air conditioners buzzing. Although AC units aren't common on the south coast of B.C., which usually has mild summers, the devices are becoming more popular.

Air quality is improving in B.C.
Air quality is improving in B.C.

“Over the last several years, we are starting to see a steady increase in the number of air conditioners our customers are using,” says Simi Heer, speaking on behalf of B.C. Hydro. She says that nine per cent of customers had central air conditioning in 2008. Back in 2001, only five per cent of customers had central air.

People in coastal British Columbia will be breathing easier in the coming days. Air quality is improving because of the change in weather pattern.

Air quality in the region was poor as smoke from forest fires in the province's interior drifted to the coast. The high pressure and stable air mass that was in place created stagnant atmospheric conditions.

But as the trough moved in, it created turbulence in the atmosphere, mixing up particulate matter, like ash from the forest fires. As a result, the air quality is getting better.

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