California avoids blackouts amid heat wave

For nearly three hours Tuesday night, California officials warned of impending power outages as the state’s power grid struggled to meet growing demand during a punishing heat wave.

The Golden State avoided widespread outages, although three northern California cities experienced brief power outages.

At 8 p.m., the California independent system operator downgraded its level 3 alertthe final step before calling for power outages, saying “consumer conservation has played an important role in protecting the reliability of the power grid.”

There was “no load shedding for the night”, the network operator said; however, officials in Alameda, Palo Alto and Healdsburg said they have short “rotating outages” in place.

In Alameda, city utility officials said at 6:20 p.m. that rotating blackouts were beginning. Electricity would be cut on two circuits for one hour, according to Alameda Municipal Power.

Just before 7:30 p.m., Bay Area city utility officials said the second hour of power outages had been called off.

“No more rotating blackouts for tonight,” the utility said. in a tweet. “Teams are working to restore power to all customers cut within the first hour of the outages.”

City of Healdsburg officials confirmed the outages around 6:30 p.m.

“As reported by CAISO, power outages to begin with,” according to a Facebook post from the City of Sonoma County.

Outages lasting about an hour per zone would traverse each block until the power shortage is over, city officials said.

“Due to declining system loads, the need for rotating blackouts has ended,” city officials said at 8:10 p.m.

Palo Alto officials said around 7 p.m. they had been authorized to restore power to about 1,700 customers after outages to meet Cal ISO “load shedding requirements.”

“We have not ordered rotating outages,” ISO spokeswoman Anne Gonzales said in an email to The Times on Tuesday evening. “We wanted to [Energy Emergency Alert] 3 without load shedding, and [the alert] finished at 8 p.m.

Gonzales did not respond to multiple telephone requests for clarification.

Shortly after 7 p.m. Cal ISO rated that the grid’s peak demand had reached 52,061 megawatts, “a new all-time high”.

The alert did not affect Los Angeles Department of Water and Power customers because the utility operates its own network and is separate from Cal ISO.

“We do not suspect any outages due to power shortages and are not part of any ongoing outages [Cal ISO] planned,” said Mia Rose Wong, spokeswoman for the municipal utility.

The DWP expects demand on Tuesday to be high, but not high enough to exceed available power generation and spare capacity, Wong said.

Still, the utility advised customers to conserve energy and follow state grid regulator guidelines, including setting thermostats to at least 78 degrees and not using large appliances. .

In addition to urging customers to reduce their power consumption, the DWP makes excess power available to Cal ISO when available, Wong said, though it’s unclear whether it there was excess power on Tuesday night.

The heat wave is now expected last until Friday, but the worst could be over for the southern half of the state – even if temperatures remain dangerously high.

For much of Northern California, the heat was to peak on Tuesdaybut temperatures are expected to remain well above average throughout the week, according to the National Weather Service.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Weather Service confirmed that downtown Sacramento had set an all-time temperature record. A preliminary high of 115 degrees broke the previous record of 114 set on July 17, 1925, meteorologists said. About an hour later, officials reported the temperature had reached 116.

The state capital has seen a deluge of extremes over the past year, said Daniel Swain, a UCLA climatologist and California climate researcher at the Nature Conservancy. in a tweet on Tuesday evening.

“First its longest dry spell on record, which ended with the wettest day on record, followed by the driest start to the calendar year on record, now followed by its hottest day on record. “, wrote Swain.

In Hanford, the weather service office said that as of 3 p.m., “all major weather observation airports in the San Joaquin Valley had set daily record temperatures.”

Four Bay Area cities have broken records for the highest temperature recorded on any day of the year, according to the weather service.

San Jose’s temperature of 109 on Tuesday broke the previous all-time high of 108, set on September 1, 2017.

The Santa Rosa high of 115 beat the high of 113 set in 1913; Napa’s 114 broke the record of 113 set in 1961; and King City in Monterey County reached 116, breaking the record of 115 set in 2017.

Redwood City in San Mateo County hit 110, tying the record set in 1972.

Livermore passed Tuesday at 116, tying the record set a day earlier. The previous maximum temperature recorded at Livermore was 115, set on September 3, 1950.

In a video posted on Twitter on TuesdayGovernor Gavin Newsom called the heat across California unprecedented and warned the state was heading for the most severe stretch.

“The risk of outages is real and immediate,” Newsom said. “These triple-digit temperatures across much of the state are leading, unsurprisingly, to record demand on the energy grid.”

He said the heat wave was “on track to be the hottest and longest on record” for California and parts of the West in September.

The West has long experienced episodes of extreme temperatures, but studies have shown that human-caused climate change is making these heat waves longer, more frequent and more intense.

Heat Tips

Stay informed

You can monitor the forecast for your area by going to the National Weather Service website. website and search by city, state or zip code for the latest weather updates and alerts. Follow local authorities and agencies on social media for advice and information on resources available in your area. Keep a extreme heat checklist to make sure you’re ready.

Stay indoors and wear light clothing

Officials from the National Weather Service and public health units are advising people to stay indoors as much as possible, especially between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., when the sun is strongest. If you exercise outdoors, it is recommended to do so early in the morning or late in the evening.

If you don’t have air conditioning, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended go to a mall or a public library. You can also check your county’s website or call the local health department to learn more about cooling centers in your area. Other options include taking a cool shower twice a day or even finding a shaded courtyard or park. (Health officials at UCLA say the electric fans will not prevent heat-related illnesses when temperatures reach 90+.)

Watch out for heat-related illnesses

According to the CDC, heat-related illnesses can range from skin rashes and sunburn to more serious conditions including heat exhaustion and heatstroke, and result from the body’s inability to cool itself through heat. sweat. Signs of heatstroke, the most serious of heat-related illnesses, include a temperature of 103 degrees or higher; hot, red, dry or moist skin; rapid and strong pulse; headache; dizziness; nausea; confusion and loss of consciousness. If you experience these symptoms, seek immediate medical attention. The CDC not recommended drink anything and recommend moving to a cool place and cold bath or using a cold cloth.

Signs of heat exhaustion include profuse sweating; cold, pale and clammy skin; a rapid, weak pulse; nausea or vomiting; muscle cramps; fatigue; dizziness; headaches and fainting. If you have these symptoms, get out of the sun immediately, find a cool place or cold towels, and drink water. Monitor your symptoms and get help if you vomit, symptoms get worse, or last longer than an hour.

Stay hydrated

Drink plenty of fluids, especially before going out, is essential in the prevention of heat-related illnesses. UCLA officials warn against wait until you are thirsty to drink. In periods of high heat, it is better to drink at least two to four cups of water per hour. (For those who work outside, the The CDC suggests a cup of water, or 8 ounces, every 15 to 20 minutes.) Health officials also advise against drinking alcohol during periods of extreme heat, as it causes dehydration and increases the risk of heat-related illnesses.

This is also important to replenish the salt and minerals your body loses when it sweats by drinking low-sugar fruit juices or sports drinks. dietitians too recommend eat foods with high water content — think watermelon, celery, and cucumbers — while drinking the right fluids.

Signs of dehydration in adults include extreme thirst; fatigue; dizziness; dizziness; dry mouth and/or lips and infrequent urination. In infants or young children, look for dry mouth and tongue; no tears when crying; no wet diapers for more than three hours; sunken eyes and cheeks; a sunken soft spot on the top of the head and irritability or listlessness.

(If your doctor puts you on a special diet or regulates the amount of water you drink, ask about what steps you should take during heat waves to stay well hydrated.)

Check on the most vulnerable

In addition to protecting yourself and staying healthy, check frequently with people at high risk, including the elderly, children, pregnant women, homeless people, those who work outside and those who are not air-conditioned. Heat also affects your pets, so keep them indoors, or if they will be outdoors, make sure they have plenty of water and a shaded area. Never leave a child or pet in the back seat of a car, as temperatures inside a vehicle can quickly skyrocket, even with cracked windows.

To help the homeless, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health suggests donating water, electrolyte packets, light, loose clothing, tents, towels and other supplies. to local organizations.

Times writer Rong-Gong Lin II contributed to this report.

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