As California endured another day of record-breaking heat Sunday, officials warned that it in order to conserve energy it might be necessary to impose rolling blackouts across the region that could affect millions of customers. Blackouts could take place during peak evening hours, 5 to 9 p.m., according to the California Independent System Operator, which runs the power grid for much of the state. That could force utilities to cut off power to 2.5 million to 3 million customers statewide, Eric Schmitt, vice president of operations for California ISO, said Sunday at a news briefing. The ISO was urging consumers to conserve energy, particularly during the peak demand time of 3 to 6 p.m. "I think it's fair to say that without really significant conservation and help from customers today that we'll have to have some rolling outages," Schmitt, said. "So this is really an appeal for people to help us out to get through what will prove to be a very, very difficult day."
Record-breaking temperatures, gusty Santa Ana winds and bone-dry conditions have Southern California bracing for a weekend of fire danger. The National Weather Service issued a red-flag warning for a large swath of Southern California, including the mountains and valleys of Los Angeles, Ventura, San Bernardino, Orange and Riverside counties. The warning, which denotes the potential for rapid fire growth, is in effect through 4 p.m. Saturday. Already by Friday morning, the wind had helped fuel two brush fires that grew to several hundred acres each. The larger of the two broke out in the San Jacinto Mountains in Riverside County at about 1:15 a.m.
At least four deaths have been attributed to the sweltering heat that has plagued Arizona this weekend. The Arizona Republic reported that four hikers collapsed and died on trails across the state. One hiker died in the Phoenix Mountain Preserve, another died on the Peralta Trail in the Superstition Mountains, a third near Finger Canyon Rock and a fourth in Ventana Canyon. "It really shows how critical this heat can be and how it can really sneak up on you," Phoenix Fire spokesman Capt. Larry Subervi told the paper.
Firefighters are working to put out 22 major fires across the state amid dangerous heatwaves; Christina Coleman reports from Los Angeles. WOODLAND HILLS, Cailf--Southern California's heatwave brought record-setting temperatures to the region when Woodland Hills--a neighborhood in Los Angeles--reached a record high 121 degrees. The Los Angeles Police Department tweeted that the temperature reached 121 degrees at about 1:30 p.m. at the official recording site at Pierce College in the San Fernando Valley. The neighborhood looked like a ghost town and was still 100 degrees at 7:30 p.m. High temperatures in the San Fernando Valley are not unusual during the late summer months, but the Labor Day weekend heatwave has prompted the California Independent System Operator to declare a Stage 2 Emergency. And there was no escape for those in the San Fernando Valley.
The heat wave that has gripped California for a week took a dramatic turn Thursday as lightning storms sparked brush fires, knocked out power to thousands and caused downpours across the region. Forecasters said the extreme weather will continue through the weekend, with some parts of Northern California flirting with all-time record high temperatures. Lightning strikes were reported in many areas Thursday, with some sparking a series of brush fires near the 5 Freeway in the Santa Clarita Valley. In Santa Monica on Thursday evening, city officials asked beachgoers to immediately evacuate all ocean areas and seek cover until the storm ended. Residents in Colton lost power Thursday after lightning hit a power substation.