The heat wave that gripped St. Albert and much of Alberta this week has already made history by breaking at least one daily temperature record, if not more.

The heat wave that gripped St. Albert and much of Alberta this week has already made history by breaking at least one daily temperature record, if not more.

Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) announced Tuesday morning that Monday’s high of 32.6 degrees Celsius (90.4 degrees Fahrenheit) broke the record for daily temperatures set in St. Albert on July 8. That record previously stood at 32.2 degrees Celsius (90.4 degrees Fahrenheit) and was set in 1964.

According to historical weather data maintained by the province, there have only been five occasions since 1900 when the temperature in St. Albert exceeded 86 degrees F on July 8, including this year. The previous occasions were in 1964 when the previous record was set; in 2012 when the temperature reached 86.4 degrees F; in 2015 when the temperature reached 88.4 degrees F; and in 2021 when the temperature reached 88.4 degrees F.

As of Tuesday afternoon, ECCC had not yet announced whether Tuesday’s high of 33 or 34 degrees Celsius in St. Albert was a new record, although the same provincial data shows that it is possible, as the existing record was set in 2015 at around 33 degrees Celsius. Historical data shows that between 1901 and 2000, there were only two instances where the high on July 9 reached 30 degrees Celsius: in 1964 when the temperature reached 31.64 degrees Celsius and in 1968 when the temperature reached 30.69 degrees Celsius.

Since 2000, there have been four occasions when temperatures exceeded 30 degrees Celsius, both on July 9: 2012 (32.02 degrees Celsius), the record of 33.14 degrees Celsius in 2015 and in 2021 (32.03 degrees Celsius).

Wednesday’s high of 34 or 35 degrees Celsius during the day could also break the current daily temperature record in St. Albert. The current record for July 10 is around 33.5 degrees Celsius, set in 2001.

July 10th is traditionally a pretty warm day in St. Albert. There have been 10 recorded instances between 1900 and 2023 where temperatures have exceeded or come extremely close to 30 degrees Celsius.

Provincial data shows that in 1926 the highest daily temperature was 30.32 degrees Celsius; in 1939 the highest daily temperature was 30.13 degrees Celsius; in 1969 it was 30.72 degrees Celsius; in 1985 it was 30.38 degrees Celsius; in 2002 it was 31.64 degrees Celsius; in 2012 it was 31.82 degrees Celsius; and in 2021 it was 32.54 degrees Celsius.

The years when the maximum daytime temperature on July 10 remained just below 30 degrees Celsius were 1949 when the temperature reached 29.99 degrees Celsius, 1975 when the temperature reached 29.42 degrees Celsius and 2015 when the temperature reached 29.1 degrees Celsius.

Keep cool

The extreme heat prompted ECCC to issue a long-term heat warning for St. Albert and surrounding communities Monday morning. The City of St. Albert activated its extreme weather response Monday afternoon.

The city’s extreme weather response measures, which are expected to remain in place through the weekend, include opening city facilities as “cooling stations” where people can go to escape the heat, making public transportation free for people who need to get out of the sun, and making bottled water available to RCMP officers in their vehicles and at the department’s headquarters on Boudreau Road.

City facilities operating as cooling stations include St Albert Place in the city centre, which is open weekdays from 7am to 11pm; Servus Place in Campbell Business Park, which is open weekdays from 5:30am to 9:30pm; and Jensen Lakes Library, which is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 12pm to 6pm, Thursdays from 12pm to 8pm, and Fridays from 10am to 6pm.

To avoid heatstroke or heat exhaustion, the city advises residents to drink plenty of fluids, avoid strenuous exercise, wear sunscreen and dress appropriately for the weather. Also, try not to use appliances that produce heat, such as stoves or ovens.

“Heat affects everyone differently,” the city’s warning on extreme heat reads. “The very old and the very young are more sensitive to heat, so keep an eye on friends, neighbors and family members.”

“Take precautions to protect yourself and your family during extreme temperatures.”

The city’s notice also notes that people experiencing homelessness are at greater risk for heat exhaustion and stroke. If you are concerned about someone who is without shelter from the heat, you can call the St. Albert Food Bank and Community Village at 780-459-0599 or the city’s Department of Social Services at 780-459-1756.

St. Albert residents who responded to a Government Gazette A Facebook post about the heat wave also offered a bunch of creative suggestions for staying cool this week, including putting some clothes and sheets in the freezer before using them, hanging emergency Mylar blankets or aluminum foil on windows in the sun to reflect heat, putting ice cubes in your pillowcase before you go to bed and, if you have one, sleeping in a bathtub.

Little light in sight

Although the Weather Network 14-day forecast calls for some rain this weekend in St. Albert, bringing temperatures down to around 77 degrees Fahrenheit on Saturday, the heat will continue through most of next week. The forecast calls for daytime highs of 82 degrees Fahrenheit, 86 degrees Fahrenheit, and 82 degrees Fahrenheit next Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, respectively.

A meteorologist from ECCC, Justin Shelley, told the Government Gazette Late last week it was announced that the heat was the result of a ridge of high pressure moving east across North America, although the northern United States would be hit hardest by the ridge.

“We will remain in this warm pattern for the foreseeable future,” Shelley said.