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Highest-ever temperature 41.4 C recorded in Pitt Meadows, Maple Ridge

Record heat closes businesses and schools, drives people to waterways
Wilf Truchon beats the heat at a Maple Ridge spray park. (Colleen Flanagan/The News)

Monday afternoon saw the mercury rise to the highest temperature ever recorded in Pitt Meadows and Maple Ridge.

Environment Canada reports that the temperature hit an all-time high of 41.4 Celsius, which shattered the old record of 37.6 C set in 2009. Actually, the old record was broken three times over during the recent heat wave. Monday’s scorching heat came on the heels of two prior record-setting days – a 40 C temperature on Sunday and 37.8 on Saturday at the Pitt Meadows weather station.

Weather records fell across the province. Lytton, a traditional hot spot, sweltered under the highest temperature ever recorded in Canada at 47.9 C on Monday. That set a new national mark for the Fraser Canyon village, after it had set the record of 46.6 C on Sunday.

As a so-called heat dome settle on the Pacific Northwest, the rare thermal conditions did not allow for cooling overnight. Environment Canada issued a heat warning, calling the heat wave “dangerous,” and it was still in effect on Tuesday. The agency also issued an air quality advisory, as the skies turned hazy.

READ ALSO: B.C. sees temperatures hot enough to cook an egg on pavement – kind of

Numerous businesses were closed in the heat, and it was a rare restaurant that had its doors opened for dinner Monday. The Joseph Richard Group, for example, announced that all of its locations, including Town Hall Maple Ridge, would be closed for the day. Deli counters were cleaned out, as people looked for meals they would not have to cook.

Amsterdam Garden Centre in Pitt Meadows was a business that gave its employees a break from the heat, only working the morning, closing at 1 p.m. on the hottest days.

“Due to the extreme heat warning, and the added challenge of having to wear masks in our already-hot-and-humid greenhouses, we have decided to close early on Sunday and Monday when temperatures are expected to break 40 degrees,” said a press release from Amsterdam.

Both the cities of Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows set up drop-in cooling stations – at the Pitt Meadows Family Recreation Centre on Harris Road and the Greg Moore Youth Centre at Haney Place. Anytime between 1-10 p.m. members of the public could drop in for relief from the oppressive heat.

Maple Ridge Parks teams reactivated water fountains in downtown parks, which had been shut off due to COVID-19 protocols.

The Salvation Army coordinated support for the homeless population, and people could be found sleeping in the shade of trees in the afternoon heat.

Hot Rocks was hotter than ever over the weekend.

As local teen Jesse Olafson told The News, the best place in Maple Ridge right now is a swimming hole.

“Hot Rocks is a really nice place to go to cool off,” he said.

Local lakes and the Alouette River were popular destinations. Parked cars lined Fern Crescent and kids with inflatable rafts and tubes paraded to the Alouette, and the favourite swimming hole at Davidson’s Pool.

READ ALSO: Extreme heat to abate somewhat across the Fraser Valley and Lower Mainland

The banks of the river were lined with people sitting in the water on lawn chairs or right in the stream, from hot rocks, past Maple Ridge Park and all the way to 224th Street

School District 42 closed all schools to students on Monday, but they re-opened on Tuesday. Most students were already out of school, but the closures impacted Kanaka Creek Elementary, which is on a balanced calendar, and some high school students.

Temperatures were forecast to fall to the uneventful 27-to-30 Celsius range over the coming days.

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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