Californians seek shelter as the heat wave continues for the eighth day

Californians seek shelter as the heat wave continues for the eighth day

Californians seek shelter as the heat wave continues for the eighth day

A man in a heat-stricken Los Angeles suburb and a woman with two small children in Pomona were among Californians desperately seeking cool shelter as extreme temperatures baked the state Wednesday for the eighth consecutive day.

Temperatures were expected to exceed 108 degrees Fahrenheit (42 degrees Celsius) in Sacramento, the state capital and other inland valleys, and reach 100 degrees in the Los Angeles area.

The agency that runs most of California’s power grid has urged consumers to save energy during the late afternoon and evening hours to avoid continuous blackouts, as the heatwave blanketed the drought-stricken region and crews have fought multiple fires linked to drought conditions.

Many people without air conditioning or homeless have found relief in cooling centers run by city hall conference rooms and community centers.

But untold numbers of homeless people lie on the streets of downtown Los Angeles, looking for whatever gray area they can find, said Andy Bales, president and CEO of Union Rescue Mission, which helps homeless people. .

Bales said he and his staff walked the streets twice a day to distribute bottles of water. Some people barely moved, he said, opening his eyes only to look at the volunteers and grab a cool bottle.

About 1,000 people were taking refuge in the three Union Rescue Mission facilities in the area, he said.

The organization also found interesting places to stay for others, including two mothers with babies and a man who called from the outskirts of Simi Valley, where the temperature reached 100 degrees Fahrenheit on Wednesday.

In Sacramento, hit hard by the prolonged heatwave that started in Southern California and moved north over Labor Day weekend, a high school football player collapsed. A local chain of fitness centers canceled classes, saying its air conditioning system couldn’t keep up.

Temperatures are expected to remain extreme over the next few days before residents get some relief over the weekend, according to the National Weather Service.

Evacuation orders remained in effect in Riverside County east of Los Angeles and Siskiyou County in the state’s northernmost part of Oregon as crews responded to deadly fires.

As of Wednesday morning, only 5% of the Fairview Fire in Riverside was contained after burning 7,000 acres (2,830 hectares), according to Riverside County Firefighters. The fire killed two people and injured another.

Firefighters contained 65% of the Mill Fire in Siskiyou, where nearly 4,000 acres (1,620 hectares) were burned.

Energy prices rose to a two-year high on Tuesday and demand hit an all-time high as homes and businesses turned on air conditioners.

The California Independent System Operator (ISO), a network operator for most of the state, canceled its warning for possible rolling outages late Tuesday without any downtime needed.

While urging consumers and businesses to keep saving, the grid operator was primarily concerned with the late afternoon and evening hours, when the sun sets and solar power is no longer available.

The last time ISO ordered public utilities to lose power was for two days in August 2020, when outages affecting around 800,000 homes and businesses lasted from 15 minutes to around 2.5 hours.

(Reuters)

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