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Southern California Heat Wave Leaves Thousands Without Power

Utility crews scrambled to restore electrical service around the Southland today after a day of record-shattering heat.

Though inland and valley temperatures were forecast to peak around 106 degrees this afternoon, partly cloudy skies helped cap temperatures in the 90s. However, a few spots, such as Acton and the Whittier Hills, did break into the triple-digits.

Health experts warned against strenuous outdoor exercise during the hottest parts of the day, due to the possibility of heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

Oscar-nominated film editor Sally Menke was found dead early today after taking a hike in Beachwood Canyon Monday with her dog. Menke, 56, who edited all of Quentin Tarantino’s films, including “Pulp Fiction” and the “Kill Bill” movies, is believed to have been overcome by the 100-degree-plus heat.

The heat also has been hard on the region’s electrical infrastructure. As of 5:30 p.m., outages among the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power’s 1.4 million customers had dropped from 15,000 this morning to 4,762.

Among the most impacted areas were 938 customers in the Los Feliz area, 800 in the North Hills area, 372 in Bel Air, 356 in the Mount Olympus area and 349 in Cheviot Hills.

On Monday, the DWP reported record demand, with electricity flowing at a peak of 6,177 megawatts at 3:45 p.m., breaking the previous record of 6,165 megawatts on July 24, 2006.

Southern California Edison, which serves about 14 million customers in the rest of Southern California, still had 22,981 customers without power as of noon, down from 27,600 this morning.

Utility officials were asking customers to conserve energy where possible, and by waiting until the heat of the day passes to run washers and dryers and other large appliances.

Monday’s downtown high of 113 degrees at 12:15 p.m. was the hottest ever for the date, beating the old record of 112 degrees set June 26, 1990, according to National Weather Service. Records date to 1877.

Other highs set Monday included 111 degrees in Long Beach and 110 in Burbank.

In response to the extreme heat, the Los Angeles Unified School District canceled all outdoor activities Monday. District officials said they would continue monitoring the weather and take further steps if deemed necessary.

The district urged parents to ensure their children are dressed appropriately for the weather, and suggested that students bring a frozen bottle of water to school.

Central Elementary School in Baldwin Park lost electrical services, and classes were canceled today.

“Cooling centers” have been opened in North Hollywood, Panorama City, Sunland, Sylmar, Sherman Oaks, Northridge and Burbank.

KESQ News Team

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