What is the 'heat dome' linked to 65 sudden deaths in Vancouver?

ITV News Correspondent Neil Connery reports on the 'heat dome' which has hit almost 50°C in some parts of British Columbia

A heat dome across western Canada and the US has been linked to more than 60 sudden deaths and has caused severe disruption.

Canada's climate department has reported temperatures of 47.9°C in parts of British Columbia.

Authorities have pointed to the climate crisis, but linking a single event to global warming is difficult.

The extreme temperatures have been driven, in part, by a so-called heat dome of static high-pressure hot air sitting above the areas.

This causes hot air to sink down, warming more and more as it goes, and settling in the areas below it.

In Canada, Vancouver police has responded to 65 sudden-death calls since the heatwave hit.

Sgt Steve Addison of the force said: "The vast majority of these cases are related to the heat.

"Vancouver has never experienced heat like this, and sadly dozens of people are dying because of it".

British Columbia Premier, John Horgan, warned the heat could lead to "another catastrophic fire season" with "the entire west coast of North America from Baja to Alaska red hot".

The politician said cooling centres had been set up across the province and authorities had been checking in on people who could be "in distress".

Mr Horgan said, with hindsight, "we can always have planned to do better and do more," but he stressed "the big lesson coming out of the past number of days is that the climate crisis is not a fiction that is absolutely real."

"This is not a British Columbia problem, it's not a Canada problem, it is a global challenge."

The unprecedented heat has scorched the Pacific Northwest too, with Seattle and Portland, Oregon buckling under the extreme temperatures - both regions better known for rain.

In Oregon, nine locations – including Portland (42.2°C) Eugene (43.8°C)  and Astoria (38.3°C)- saw all-time temperature records broken on Sunday.

In neighbouring Washington, all-time temperature records fell in Seattle (40°C), Olympia (40.5°C) and Hoquiam (39.4°C)

The Portland Streetcar was out of action due to the heat, with operators sharing images of power cables melted in the weather.

Roads have buckled too, with asphalt buckling and deemed "unsafe for travel".

Environment Canada said the weather system shattered 103 heat records across British Columbia, Alberta, Yukon and the Northwest Territories on Monday.

Those records include a new Canadian high temperature of 47.9C (118F) set in Lytton, British Columbia, smashing the previous record of 46.6C (116F) set in the same village a day earlier.

Hotels in the province have seen residents booking air-conditioned rooms so they can continue working and also get some sleep amid the heat.

The record-breaking heatwave could ease over parts of British Columbia, Yukon and the Northwest Territories by Wednesday, but any reprieve for the Prairie provinces is further off.