SACRAMENTO, California –
A record heatwave made life miserable in much of the western United States on Tuesday, with California extending into a second week of extreme heat that has taxed the state’s electricity supply and Power outages can lead to power outages while people try to stay cool. .
The California Independent Systems Operator, which oversees the state’s power grid, said there could be a “rotating blackout” Tuesday night as electricity demand could reach an all-time high. grand.
Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom urged residents to preserve, warning in a video message that “the risk of a blackout is real and it’s immediate.”
“This heatwave is on track to become the hottest and longest-running heatwave on record for the state and parts of the West in September,” Newsom said. “Everybody has to do their part to help raise the bar in just a few days.”
California’s state capital Sacramento hit a record Tuesday with its 41st day temperature reaching at least 100 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius). And it’s likely the city will break its all-time high of 114 degrees Fahrenheit (46 degrees Celsius) set in 1925, according to the National Weather Service.
Debbie Chang, a native of Sacramento, took a walk in Capitol Park Tuesday morning, pulling a Pop-Tarts and water to distribute to the homeless. She lives in an old house that relies on wall-mounted appliances that she says don’t work well. The temperature reached 91 degrees (33 C) in her home on Monday night.
“The last couple of years in California, it’s been really tough,” she said. “I really love this state. And growing up, I never imagined that I would exactly want to live outside of California, unless maybe internationally. But this is very difficult.”
In San Francisco, temperatures hit 94 degrees Celsius just before noon on Tuesday in an area known for mild summer weather where most people don’t have air conditioning. In Los Angeles, temperatures in the 90s were higher on Tuesday, prompting the nation’s second-largest school district to restrict use of asphalt roads and concrete playgrounds.
In neighboring Nevada, Reno set a record of 102 degrees (39 C) on Monday while in Utah’s Salt Lake City – a city at more than 4,000 feet (1,219 meters) – temperatures were about higher than normal. 20 degrees, hitting 105 degrees (40.5 C) on Tuesday, the hottest September day on record going back to 1874.
Climate change has made the West warmer and drier over the past three decades, scientists say, and will continue to make more extreme weather and more frequent and destructive wildfires. Over the past five years, California has experienced the largest and most destructive wildfires in state history.
A wildfire that began Friday in the Weed community in Northern California has killed two people, and an outbreak Monday and rapidly spreading in the Hemet area of Southern California has also killed two. Authorities said they were found in the same area and appear to have died while trying to flee the blaze.
Although the heatwave is likely to peak in most places on Tuesday, the extreme heat is expected to continue for several more days.
“This is a really dangerous event from a human health perspective,” said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist with the Institute for Environment and Sustainability at the University of California, Los Angeles.
Sacramento County officials have been using the air-conditioned hallways of some of their public buildings as cooling hubs for people with nowhere else to go and providing free transportation for those can’t get there. Officials are even handing out vouchers to some homeless people through a program they usually book for the winter, according to county spokeswoman Janna Haynes.
“While a lot of people can stay at home, a lot of people don’t have a home to live in,” says Haynes.
In government office buildings, thermostats are set at 85 degrees (29 C) at 5 p.m. to save electricity.
Ariana Clark, a Sacramento native, said she can’t remember how long it’s been this hot. She said she turns off the air conditioning in the afternoons to save energy and keep her 9-month-old son, Benito, cool by filling up buckets for him to play outside.
“As long as he stays calm that’s what matters,” Clark said.
Juliana Hinch, who moved to Sacramento from San Diego two and a half years ago, said she has never felt this hot before. She said some wetlands near her home have dried up, so she leaves water in the front yard “for other random animals,” including cats, squirrels and coyotes.
Hinch said she used to live in Washington state but moved elsewhere because it was too cold. Now, she says, “that sounds like a good deal to have.”
Associated Press reporters Sophie Austin and Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, California; Brady McCombs of Salt Lake City, John Anctzak of Los Angeles and Scott Sonner of Reno, Nevada, contributed.