A historic heat wave is affecting the West, breaking all-time, monthly and daily records and putting the California electricity grid to test. The heat is relentless, potentially peaking today but sticking around straight through the upcoming weekend.
The big picture: The immediate cause of the heat wave is an unusually strong area of high pressure, or heat dome, that is parked over the western U.S., causing air to sink and dry out, stifling any widespread rainfall.
As of Tuesday morning, about 52 million people were under extreme heat warnings and advisories in six states.
Threat level: Yesterday, California ISO, the state’s grid operator, declared a Stage 2 emergency, switching on emergency generating capacity as demand threatened to exceed supply.
Much of this emergency energy supply comes from natural gas plants, including generators meant specifically to kick on in events such as this one.
- Stage 3 emergencies trigger load shedding, otherwise known as rolling outages.On
- Tuesday afternoon, California ISO declared a Stage 1 emergency. stating that electricity “deficiencies are expected.”
- Grid management may be more difficult today, with a forecast for record power demand. A Flex Alert is in effect for a seventh-straight day, calling on residents to conserve energy between 4 and 9 pm PT.
- California ISO says it needs two to three times the voluntary load reductions seen in the past few days to avoid rotating power outages today.
By the numbers: Here are a few of yesterday’s notable records in California:
- 112°F: High in Stockton, setting a monthly record.114°F: High at Sacramento Executive Airport, smashing the old monthly record of
- 109°F, set just two years ago.
- 115°F: High Vacaville, beating the old monthly record by 3°F.
- 117°F: High in Fairfield, setting an all-time record.
And some of the forecast high temperatures for today:
- 115°F: Sacramento108°F: San Jose
- 104°F: Oakland
- 125°F: Death Valley
- 94°F: Los Angeles (downtown)
Between the lines: This heat wave is further drying out vegetation that was already desiccated from a 22-year-long megadrought. A widespread region in the West, from California to Washington and eastward across the entire state of Montana is facing significant wildfire threats today.
The Tribulation is commencing…
Please repent, carry your cross daily and accept the free gift of Jesus Christ’s Death on the Cross for payment for your sins.
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