As the weekend sunshine sent the mercury sailing into the 30s, thousands flocked to pools and air-conditioned hideaways while an ongoing heat wave stirred up air quality warnings, urging people with heart problems to stay indoors.
No one was sent to hospital due to the scorching temperatures this past weekend, but two firefighters were treated for heat exhaustion after battling a south-side blaze.
Capital Health issued a 24-hour poor air quality warning Friday as increased levels of ozone, an irritant that can worsen heart and lung conditions, began to cloud the city air.
Residents were still urged to avoid strenuous activity outdoors between 2 and 6 p.m. Saturday since car exhaust reacts with intense sunlight to create excess ozone, said Dr. James Talbot, Capital Health’s associate medical officer of health.
“Anytime you have conditions with lots of sun, not much wind, and you have an economy that’s prosperous with lots of people driving around, this is going to be a risk,” he said. “It can affect children and the elderly, who are more sensitive to it.”
Across the city, consumers seeking to cool off with a new air conditioner or fan came home empty-handed, facing businesses with stocks already drained empty by early Saturday shoppers.
“We’ve had a lot of people in here asking for them,” said Leah Read, who works in the air conditioning department of a south-side Home Depot. “They’ve been in pretty big demand the last couple of days.”
Home Depot is sold out of portable air conditioners while Wal-Mart doesn’t have a single fan or air conditioning unit available in the entire city.
“We’re completely sold out of everything,” said Genevieve Harmon, an assistant manager at Wal-Mart in South Edmonton Common.
“We’ve got them on order, but it will be several days until we can get them in.”
Temperatures climbed above 32 degrees in Edmonton yesterday, capping off a weekend of sizzling heat that’s expected to last for another five days.