California faces risk of blackouts amid record-breaking heat wave


California faces risk of blackouts amid record-breaking heat wave


Record high temperatures scorched cities across California’s Central Valley to outside of Los Angeles on September 4, with officials warning that the dangerous heat wave could last through the end of the week, threatening the state’s electrical grid.

State officials on Sunday urged citizens to use less electricity for the fifth straight day as energy demand skyrocketed and temperatures continued to rise.

The Central Valley experienced the worst of the heat on September 4, hitting as high as 109 degrees Fahrenheit. The temperature might touch 115 degrees by midweek, according to the National Weather Service, which advised locals to stay inside to avoid heat-related illness.

“The heat wave begins in earnest today with dangerous temperatures now forecast to extend through the end of the week,” National Weather Service Sacramento wrote on Twitter on September 5.

The Southern California city of San Diego, which on September 3 set a record high temperature of 95 degrees, could set another record up to 98 degrees, National Weather Service forecast, although a chance of afternoon thunderstorms could provide some relief.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), which oversees the state's electrical grid, has extended a “flex alert” to a fifth day, requesting people in the state to conserve energy by turning off lights, raising their thermostats to 78 degrees or higher, and avoid using large appliances.

California’s power demand is approaching record high. “We are facing a load forecast of 48,817 megawatts and energy deficits between 2,000 and 4,000 megawatts for September 5, resulting in the highest likelihood of rotating outages we have seen so far this summer,” ISO said in a statement.

“Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday in particular are shaping up to be the most difficult of this heat wave,” the agency added.

Moreover, the state's ongoing wildfires and potential fires could damage power lines and generators, putting additional strain on the grid. More than two decades of drought and rising temperatures worsened by climate change have left California more vulnerable than ever to wildfires.

Temperatures were predicted to reach 100 degrees in the coming days. As of Sunday morning, the fire had burnt more than 4,000 acres and was 25% contained, reported California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection.

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