Flex Alert issued for Labor Day weekend as California faces extreme heat wave

California
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As extreme heat is expected to scorch much of the Southland through the long holiday weekend, California officials on Thursday issued a Flex Alert calling for energy conservation during afternoons and evenings from Saturday to Labor Day. 

Widespread triple-digit heat is forecasted for most areas over the weekend, except along the coast and at higher mountain elevations, according to the National Weather Service. Temperatures are anticipated to reach between 100 and 115 degrees in many parts. 

Forecasters warned of potentially record-breaking temperatures during the intense heat wave, which will likely peak Sunday. 

“DANGEROUSLY hot conditions this Labor Day weekend over southwest California. Temperatures may reach ALL TIME highs. Heat illness can KILL. PLAN NOW!” NWS Los Angeles tweeted on Thursday.  

With temperatures expected to be 10 to 20 degrees above normal for this time across the state, officials are concerned that a surge in demand for electricity — particularly from the use of air conditioning — could strain the state’s power grid. 

Because of that, the California Independent System Operator, which manages the grid, has called for voluntary electricity conservation this weekend. They issued a Flex Alert that will be in effect from Saturday through Monday between the hours of 3 p.m. and 9 p.m., according to a news release from the ISO. 

The reminder to conserve electricity comes just weeks after another prolonged heat wave created a surge in demand for utilities that prompted California’s first rolling blackout in nearly 20 years.

Grid operators repeatedly warned of similar actions in the days that followed, but further expected power outages were avoided because of consumer efforts to save electricity amid the excessive heat, officials said. 

While the Flex Alert is in effect, this weekend residents are encouraged to set their air conditioning to 78 degrees, use fans when possible, and keep blinds and drapes closed. Unused electrical devices should be unplugged, unnecessary lights turned off, and major appliances not run in the afternoon and evening.

Before 3 p.m., people are urged to “pre-cool” their homes by lowering the air conditioning thermostat. And to prepare for the Flex Alert, they should charge mobile devices and laptops, and run major appliances, including dishwashers and washing machines. 

More tips can be found here: https://www.flexalert.org/.

And for a list of cooling centers in Los Angeles County, visit https://ready.lacounty.gov/heat/.

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