Here's why Metro Vancouver is still under a heat warning, even though temperatures have dropped

A motorist watches from a pullout on the Trans-Canada Highway as a wildfire burns on the side of a mountain in Lytton, B.C., Thursday, July 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

Heat warnings are still in place for most of B.C., including in some regions where temperatures have dropped significantly.

Environment Canada first issued heat warnings more than a week ago as dangerously high temperatures were predicted due to an "exceptionally strong" ridge of high pressure. 

In the Lower Mainland, temperatures got to the high 30s and low 40s earlier this week. Even though temperatures have dropped to the 20s in most of the region, the warning is still in place for some places like Surrey, Coquitlam and Langley.

"The current heat wave has become less intense. However, temperatures will remain unseasonably warm for the remainder of the week," the warning says.

"In collaboration with B.C. health authorities, (Meteorological Service of Canada) has decided to continue the heat alert until a sufficient period of cooling has been observed. It is recognized that daytime temperatures may not meet published heat alert criteria."

But other parts of the province could still see those dangerously high temperatures in the days ahead.

"A dangerous long duration heat wave continues," warnings for more than a dozen regions say.

Some areas could see temperatures get to the high 30s, with humidex levels reaching the low 40s, Environment Canada warns.

"The duration of this heat wave is concerning as there is little relief at night with elevated overnight temperatures," the statement from Environment Canada says.

This week, national temperature records were broken in Lytton, B.C., three days in a row. The record now stands at 49.6 C, beating the all-time heat record for Las Vegas. 

That village has now mostly burned due to a massive fire that tore through it on Wednesday, forcing an evacuation of all residents. 

"This record-breaking heat event will increase the potential for heat-related illnesses and increase the risk of wildfires due to drought conditions," Environment Canada's warning says.

Multiple other communities have been forced to evacuate due to wildfires this week, including two neighbourhoods in Kamloops, the community of Deka Lake and several areas in the Kootenays near Castlegar.