View of Columbia River valley the second week of August. (Sheri Regnier photo)

August third hottest, second driest since records began in the 60s

Forecaster Ron Lakeman reports August as 2.1 degrees warmer than norm

After experiencing the third hottest August on record, B.C.’s wildfire-driven provincial state of emergency has been extended another two weeks.

The hot, dry weather pattern continued as a strong upper ridge of high pressure remained in control through August, local forecaster Ron Lakeman noted in his month-end report.

The mean monthly temperature was just above 22 C, or 2.1 degrees warmer than normal. Prolonged heat led the eighth month to being the third warmest August on record.

Lakeman says only August of 1967 and 1971 were warmer.

The hottest day last month was 36.8 C during the afternoon of Aug. 3. And a new daily record maximum temperature of 35.8 C was set on Aug. 27.

Besides heat, August 2017 was also one of the driest on record.

The total monthly rainfall was only 8.2 millimetres (mm) or 27 per cent of the normal amount, all due to a cold front during the night of Aug. 12th and an upper trough the following day.

The past two months of 2017 are the second driest July to August period since local records began in the mid 1960’s, Lakeman added.

“Only the summer of 2003 was (slightly) drier with 8.2 millimetres of rain in comparison to the 9.8 mm of rain this year.”

On Friday, the province announced its state of emergency declaration will continue to apply to the whole province until Sept. 15.

This is the fourth time the state of emergency has been prolonged, with previous extensions on July 19, Aug. 4, and Aug. 18.

The ministry stated this ensures that federal, provincial and local resources can be delivered in a co-ordinated response to the wildfire situation and continue to ensure public safety, which remains the provincial government’s top priority.

As well, the province stated it remains committed to provide ongoing, direct financial support to evacuees, with $600-per-household funding, which will be renewed every 14 days until evacuees return home. Eligible small businesses affected by the fires can also now receive a $1,500 emergency grant through the Canadian Red Cross and Province.

As of Monday morning, there were 160 wildfires burning in B.C, with 16 evacuation orders affecting approximately 3,622 individuals, plus 39 evacuation alerts impacting approximate 13, 670 people.

The state of emergency gives agencies, such as Emergency Management BC, the fire commissioner, the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and the RCMP the authority, under the Wildfire Act, to take every action necessary to fight the wildfires and protect residents and their communities.

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