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‘Flex Alert Days’ Begin In Midst Of Heat Wave

With a late summer heat wave sending temperatures soaring, Cal-ISO, the agency that operates the state’s power grid, asked residents to conserve energy today but said no power shortages are expected.

“The peak of the heat wave is expected to occur across most (Southland) areas Wednesday,” said a National Weather Service advisory.

“Many lower mountain and desert locations are expected to climb between 100 and 108 degrees,” the advisory said. “During the peak of the heat Wednesday and Thursday, even the beaches will provide little relief, with maximum temperatures reaching into the mid 80s.”

The National Weather Service blamed the heat wave on weakening onshore flow combined with an upper-level high pressure system that is centered over Arizona and “will strengthen and build westward over Southern California.”

The California Independent System Operator, the nonprofit public corporation charged with managing the flow of electricity along the state’s open-market wholesale power grid, declared Wednesday and Thursday “Flex Alert Days” on which residents are urged to cut back on electricity use.

But it said it does not expect available energy to fall to the level at which an emergency would have to be declared — not even a Stage 1 Emergency, which involves consumers being urged to voluntarily reduce energy use to avoid the risk of shortages.

Cal-ISO officials forecast peak electricity demand Wednesday of 48,195 megawatts. The record peak demand was 50,270 megawatts on July 24, 2006.

By declaring “Flex Alert Days,” Cal-ISO urged residents to conserve energy and reduce demand on the power grid during the peak hours of 4 to 6 p.m.

Cal-ISO recommended that residents:

set thermostats at 78 degrees or higher; cool with fans; leave drapes closed; turn off unnecessary lights and appliances; and use large appliances in early morning or late at night.

Southern California Edison officials said its customers reached their highest power use of the year Tuesday, prompting the utility to echo Cal-ISO’s call for conservation — but insisting that it should have sufficient power available to meet demand.

Forecasters expect temperatures in the Coachella Valley to hit as high as 112 degrees this week.

A slow, gradual cooling trend is expected starting Thursday, although the heat wave is expected to remain until Tuesday.

The weather service urged residents to cope with the heat by wearing loose, lightweight clothing, drinking plenty of water, and taking advantage of the shade or air conditioning if possible.

“Never, ever leave children, the elderly or pets in enclosed automobiles, even for the shortest time,” an advisory warned. “Temperatures quickly rise to life-threatening levels, even if the windows are partially opened.”

KESQ News Team

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