California faces extreme heat that can push power supply to the brink of collapse

California faces extreme heat that can push power supply to the brink of collapse

California and neighboring states are facing yet another historic heat wave that could push power supplies to the brink and exacerbate the already high wildfire risk amid record drought.
Temperatures will reach 107 degrees Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) on Friday in Sacramento and 112 degrees on Saturday, according to the National Weather Service. Excessive heat warnings cover most of California and parts of Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Utah, and Arizona.

“The heat wave will roughly peak today through Sunday,” said Lara Pagano, senior forecaster at the US Weather Prediction Center. “As we move into Monday and Tuesday things will get better, but they will still be warm. “

The new heat wave comes just days after records fell in Oregon, Washington state and British Columbia, and authorities have attributed hundreds of deaths to extreme weather conditions seen as the latest evidence of climate change . Californians are once again being urged to reduce their energy use, and the state has also called for more water conservation.

Last month was the hottest June on record for the contiguous United States with temperatures 4.2 degrees above the last century average, the National Environmental Information Centers said in a report on Friday. The first half of the year, the third hottest in the 127-year record, also includes eight disasters causing at least $ 1 billion in losses from heat, drought, hail, floods, tornadoes and frost. deep that crippled Texas.

The California Independent System Operator, which manages most of the grid, issued a statewide alert asking consumers to voluntarily reduce electricity use from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. local time. Supply problems worsen less than a year after a heat wave forced the state’s first blackouts in two decades, and meeting demand is expected to be more difficult with long-term forecasts calling for above average temperatures until September.

In addition, the reopening of offices and other facilities also contributed to the increase in energy consumption. Nationwide electricity generation rose 5.9% in April from a year earlier as the country returned to normal levels of electricity demand following pandemic-related shutdowns , according to a June 24 report from the US Energy Information Administration which gives the most recent data. available.

In western states, hot weather increases the risk that fires could start and spread across the parched landscape, quickly spiraling out of control. Red flag warnings cover Idaho, Wyoming, Utah and Colorado through Friday night.

The excessive heat warnings, which mean temperatures can rise well above 100, extend from near Los Angeles to Nevada, and include parts of Oregon, Idaho, Utah and from Arizona.

Las Vegas, Nevada, could hit 116 on Saturday, one degree off its all-time high, Pagano said. She said nearly 45 daily records could fall in a region home to 22 million people.

California Governor Gavin Newsom on Thursday called on businesses, farms and residents to voluntarily reduce water use by 15%. Drought emergency declarations cover 50 of the 58 counties.

According to the National Drought Mitigation Center, the most populous U.S. state has the highest combined extreme and exceptional drought coverage in the US Drought Monitor’s 21-year history, with approximately 85% of its area in such conditions .


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