With wildfire smoke still polluting Okanagan skies, the air quality index for the entire Valley was ranked as a moderate health risk on Friday.
From Osoyoos to Vernon, the provincial air quality health index is a five out of 10, though it’s projected to fall to four this evening. According to the provincial government, a moderate health risk means nothing to worry about for most people, but those in the at-risk category should consider reducing or rescheduling strenuous outdoor activities if you are experiencing symptoms.
Environment Canada has been issuing constant special air quality statements for the Okanagan for the last four weeks, and another was issued on Friday.
The statement says people with pre-existing health conditions, the elderly, infants, children and sensitive individuals are more likely to experience health effects from smoke exposure. It adds that if you have breathing difficulties, stay indoors and don’t open windows, as doing so may let in more polluted air. If your home isn’t air-conditioned, consider going to a air-conditioned public place, such as the library, a shopping mall or a recreation centre.
For Saturday, a cold front is projected to move over the Okanagan, bringing cooler temperatures and gusts of wind. As such, the air quality health index for the Valley is projected to be low (3).
Most of B.C. will be in the moderate (4-5) health risk range today, though the Cariboo, from Williams Lake to Prince George, along with Fort St. John, are in the very high (10-plus) category.
There is also a heat warning in place for the Okanagan.
Environment Canada says a ridge of high pressure slowly moving eastward over the Southern Interior will result in continued hot weather today. Daytime maximum temperatures will reach 35 degrees in many locations, with a few spots nearing the 40 degree mark again. Overnight minimum temperatures will only recover to the upper teens.
Significant cooling will occur on Saturday as a cold front moves through the area. Showers and thunderstorms are also expected.
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