Local News

Heat Wave Strikes California

By: Ainsley Northrop 

People Editor 

A major heat wave hit California, along with several neighboring states, from Aug. 31 to Sept. 9. On Aug. 30, the California Independent System Operator (ISO) issued an official warning that the heat wave might stress energy levels across the state, asking that people limit their energy use from 4:00 PM to 9:00 PM. Since the heat wave began over Labor Day weekend, several people had traveled out of their communities. The strain of this excess travel only furthered the energy overuse problem. Although the ISO ordered many warnings over the course of the heat wave and managed to keep rolling blackouts to a minimum, the Los Angeles Times stated: “a few cities — including Alameda, Palo Alto and Healdsburg — reported temporary losses of power in some areas, at the direction of the grid operator.”

Furthermore, according to Brookings Metro, in certain parts of California, up to 60 percent of households have no air conditioning. This rate of air conditioning in California is nearly 16 percent less than the US average, and excessive heat is especially unsafe for those who have no access to air conditioning. The heat also impacts the eldery and children at a higher rate, so in future heat waves it is important to check up on your neighbors and people whom you know. 

The Los Angeles Emergency Management Department worked to take action to prevent unnecessary suffering in the heat. They created ten cooling centers for citizens to access colder temperatures for free. The Bay Area also set up cooling centers, as well as closed various open space parks. Officials did this as an extra caution due to the high risk of heat exhaustion
Finally, it is important to remain vigilant about the climate change that is causing these heat waves. As stated in an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, high pressure in the air pushes down and traps the heat in somewhat of a dome around our state. The marine layer that usually fights against this heat and cools down the weather is not strong enough to overcome this dome when a heat wave is occurring.  As we move forward, the effects of climate change are becoming more and more clear just as these heat waves are becoming more frequent.

 During the inevitable heat waves in the future, remember to decrease your power intake, check up on others, stay aware of climate change and visit local cooling centers if needed. 

(Sources: Climate Communication, Brookings.edu, NPR, ABC, SF Chronicle, LA Times)

Categories: Local News

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