Extreme heat in summer resulted in new record high temperatures in Summerland in late June.
On Monday, June 28, the temperature reached 40.3 C, breaking the all-time high record of 40.0 C, set on July 16 and July 17, 1941.
The next day, Summerland recorded a high temperature of 42.8 C and on June 30, the temperature reached 44.7 C.
The extreme heat in late June shattered temperature records across British Columbia. Lytton, in the Fraser Canyon, reached a temperature of 49.6 on June 29, setting an all-time high temperature record for Canada. The previous high temperature record was 45.0, set in the Saskatchewan communities of Midale and Yellow Grass in 1937.
The extreme heat affected fruit growing in Summerland.
When temperatures are excessively hot, the fruit can burn while still on the tree.
“There’s definitely some crop loss, no question about it,” said Steve Brown, a fruit grower in Summerland, adding that in some cases, up to 60 per cent of a crop could be lost as a result of the extreme heat.
Cameron Walker, president of Bottleneck Drive and general manager of Lunessence Winery and Vineyard, said the record-breaking heat in late June was preferable to extremely hot weather later in the season.
He said at temperatures above 40 C, vines can shut down temporarily and the fruit can experience sunburn.
In addition to the hot weather, the summer of 2021 had the third worst wildfire season on record in British Columbia, and skies were smoky for much of the summer.
Despite the smoke, Walker said fruit growers were optimistic about the year’s grapes and wine.
He said the effects of the smoke will depend on the proximity of a vineyard to the fires. “If you’ve got a vineyard next to a burning wildfire, it’s more susceptible to smoke taint,” he said.
While temperatures exceeding 40 C were observed in June, unseasonable temperatures were also recorded much later in the year.
On Dec. 1, the thermometer reached 20.4 in Summerland. Previously, the warmest December temperature in the community was 15.6 C, set on Dec. 2, 1932. Past records, from more than a century, show only a few days in December when the temperature in Summerland has exceeded 12 C.
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