Heat warnings issued for Calgary and southern Alberta, heatstroke a concern

The sun is shining on Stampede town, but the return of scorching conditions is causing major health concerns.

Environment Canada has issued heat warnings for Calgary and parts of southern Alberta as the temperature is expected to hover around 30 C (86 F) on Tuesday, with overnight lows of around 15 C (59 F) offering little respite in the days to come.

The warning comes as Calgarians and tourists flock to the Calgary Stampede, which is back at full capacity for the first time since 2019.

With the crowded Stampede Park halfway with people bustling, it will be even hotter for those in the heart of the crowd.

Heat stroke can affect anyone, but people over 50 are at greater risk, as are those who already suffer from lung, kidney or heart disease. Warning signs of heatstroke include dizziness, headache, nausea, or rapid heartbeat and breathing.

Staying hydrated is crucial during a heat wave.

Unlike in previous years, mobile water refill stations are not available on Stampede grounds. A Calgary Stampede employee told CTV News that visitors can bring a water bottle to the park and refill it at Stampede Park’s permanent buildings, including the Nutrien Western Event Center or the Big Four Building.

“We’re just recommending people find shelter as much as possible, obviously it’s nice to be outside on a sunny day, but getting in the hottest part of the day, really important to stay cool,” said Kristen Anderson, Calgary Débandade spokesperson.

Some of these places include buildings on the ground and even the ferris wheel that has air conditioning inside the cars.

Misting stations are scattered throughout the park along with shaded rest areas.

Animals involved in Stampede are not immune to the heat.

Additional fans have been added for the cattle and sheep in the farm area and there are shaded areas for the animals competing in the rodeo as well as misting stations like those in the field.

“It’s core to what Stampede does, so making sure pets are safe and comfortable while they’re here is a big part of what we do and what owners do during look after their animals while they’re here,” said Kristina Barnes, Western Agriculture and Events Manager for the Calgary Stampede.

As for participants and anyone else spending long periods outdoors, Environment and Climate Change Canada said to watch out for the warning signs of heatstroke.

“Too often we talk about vulnerable people like the elderly and children and stuff with the heat, but it’s everyone, it’s the 25s in the outfits that go to the Cowboys, it’s everyone that could be affected by the heat, so it’s important for everyone to take it seriously,” said Sara Hoffman, meteorologist at Environment Canada.

Other preventative measures to reduce the risk of heat stroke include:

  • Wear loose, light-colored clothing;
  • Spend time indoors;
  • Wear sunscreen with an SPF level of 50 or higher; and,
  • Avoid drinking too many sugary or alcoholic drinks, which can lead to dehydration.

The scorching conditions are expected to last until Saturday, with highs of 31C expected on Wednesday and Friday.