Chilliwack amidst longest drought in 14 years

Air quality advisory lifted

By Paul J. Henderson, The Times August 20, 2012

Chilliwack is in the midst of the longest drought in 14 years.

But the current period without rain will surpass even that 1998 record if forecasts are correct.

As of Monday afternoon, Chilliwack went 28 days with no measurable rainfall, which is the longest dry spell since Aug. 18 to Sept. 16 in 1998, according to Roger Pannett, volunteer weather observer for Environment Canada.

In addition to the lack of precipitation, Chilliwack was hit with the second and hottest heat wave of the summer from Aug. 15 to 17 as temperatures were in excess of 34 C.

Drought hits Chilliwack

The mercury peaked at 34.6 C on Aug. 16 (11.2 C above normal) topping the previous record of 34.4 C for that day in 1977.

The latest heat wave also led to an air quality advisory, which was issued Friday for areas of the Lower Mainland from Chilliwack out to the eastern parts of Metro Vancouver.

Metro Vancouver ended the ground-level ozone air quality advisory a day later on Saturday afternoon.

“Reducing air emissions throughout the airshed continues to be important for good air quality,” a Metro Vancouver press release said.

The recent hot weather also led to high E. Coli counts and a boil water advisory for residents of the Mount Shannon area of Little Mountain.

The advisory was issued Thursday afternoon and meant residents were told to boil tap water prior to use for drinking, cooking, making ice, brushing teeth, washing foods dishes or making infant formula.

Director of engineering David Blain said the results of weekly water test taken Wednesday within the Mount Shannon zone 2 reservoir didn’t meet drinking water standards due to E. coli counts.

To remedy the situation, the city chlorinated and flushed out the water system. The process was expected to take four days to complete but on Monday was extended until approximately Aug. 31.

Environment Canada has forecast more seasonable temperatures with a mix of sun and clouds for most day this week. There is a 60 per cent chance of showers on Friday.

Information about real-time air quality readings for the Fraser Valley communities and potential health impacts can be found at www.bcairquality.ca.

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