California Staves Off More Blackouts Amid Heatwave

Children playing in water sprinkler during a heatwave in California despite blackouts

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — California staved off another round of rolling blackouts as a searing heatwave strained its electrical grid, but authorities warned of a continuing threat Wednesday.

Grid managers again called for voluntary energy conservation during afternoon and evening hours to try to avoid having to order utilities to cut power to selected areas, which happened twice last week but has been narrowly avoided since then. “That’s a wrap. You did it, California consumers,” the system operator tweeted, adding: “Thank you for keeping the electricity flowing.”

“We’re doing everything in our power to understand the root causes of this,” said Newsom, who has ordered an investigation into outages that occurred on Friday and Saturday.

The extreme heat was being generated by a strong ridge of high pressure over the western U.S., which also produced an onslaught of thunderstorms and lightning that ignited many of the wildfires burning in California.

High temperatures were expected to continue through the week, although forecasts called for the high pressure to gradually weaken, the National Weather Service said.

In addition to heat, an influx of monsoonal storm flow unleashed powerful downpours in the inland areas of Southern California.

Meanwhile, the wildfires spewed huge columns of smoke and made for unhealthy air, further adding to the misery especially in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Associated Press writers John Antczak and Christopher Weber in Los Angeles, Martha Mendoza in Santa Cruz, and Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento contributed to this report.


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