2021 Western North America heat wave facts for kids
Air temperature anomalies across North America on June 27, 2021, compared to 2014–2020 baseline
|Date||Late June 2021– early July 2021|
|Location||Canada, United States|
An extreme heat wave has affected much of Western North America in late June and early July of 2021. The heat has affected Northern California, Idaho, Western Nevada, Oregon, and Washington in the United States, as well as British Columbia, and, later, Alberta, Manitoba, the Northwest Territories, Saskatchewan, and Yukon, all in Canada.
It resulted in some of the highest temperatures ever recorded in the region, including the highest temperature ever measured in Canada at 49.6 °C (121.3 °F), as well as the highest temperatures in British Columbia, in the Northwest Territories, and Washington.
The heat wave has caused many huge wildfires, some reaching hundreds of square kilometers in area, which have led to widespread disruption on the roads. One of them largely destroyed Lytton in British Columbia, the village where the record-high temperature for Canada had been set. The heat also caused damage to the road and railway infrastructure, forced closures of businesses, disrupted cultural events and caused widespread melting of snow on the mountains, some of which resulted in flooding.
The exact death toll is unknown, and growing. On July 6, 2021, preliminary statistics released by the British Columbia Coroner Service suggested 579 more sudden deaths than usual happened there. Deaths in the United States include at least 107.
Images for kids
Formation of a heat wave via a heat dome. In this scenario, the high-pressure area forces the air downwards, heating the air column, but even as the air becomes increasingly lighter and hotter due to the sun's energy, it cannot escape the dome because of the high pressure. This situation has been compared to pressure cooking.
Emergency repairs to a heat-damaged section of Interstate 5 in Shoreline, Washington
2021 Western North America heat wave Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.