IN THE PICTURES, IN THE PICTURES – A dome of heat encloses California, Arizona and parts of Nevada. However, mercury is expected to decrease thanks to a Canadian cold air front.
The western United States continued to suffocate in extreme temperatures on Wednesday, September 7, with the risk of power outages in California, whose power grid is bent in the face of the heatwave that has been hitting the region for a week. California, as well as parts of Nevada and Arizona, are facing scorching temperatures, which in some places reach as high as 45 ° C, due to a heat dome in the area. Mercury has yet to reach such extremes on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the US Meteorological Service, the NWS.
In this suffocating atmosphere, several large fires are ravaging the region and two of them have already proved fatal. In Northern California, themillkilled two people, destroyed more than 100 buildings and devastated more than 1600 hectares in Siskiyou County.
The “Fairview fire“, which killed two people southeast of Los Angeles, continues to grow and”it progresses faster than our efforts“, According to local fire chief Josh Janssen. Fire “continues to threaten several populated areas“He added. Since Monday, the flames have devastated more than 2,800 hectares.
Mercury is expected to drop on Friday thanks to the arrival of a cold air front from Canada, according to forecasters. But this phenomenon carries the risk of strong winds capable of multiplying the flames in the western United States. “This cold air front will also generate gusts of wind on the American West, the NWS said in a statement. Coupled with relatively low humidity, this will likely fuel the risk of new fires and that existing fires could spread out of control.“
In Montana, gusts could reach 95 km / h, according to the Storm Prediction Center. In California, more than 10,000 residents have been ordered to evacuate their homes to protect themselves from “Fairview fire“But many have ignored this warning according to Riverside County Police, who sent their agents door-to-door to try to persuade the recalcitrant.
“People should take it more seriously, given the speed of propagation, which is why we are extending the evacuation zone so much, because with the changes in the wind, the weather is unpredictable and the fire advances rapidly.“, He told al Los Angeles Times a spokesperson for the local sheriff, Brandi Swan.
Risk of flash floods
Affected for more than 20 years by drought, the American West is particularly vulnerable to wildfires, which have intensified in recent years. Global warming also accentuates extreme phenomena according to scientists: heat waves are more frequent and intense, and storms are more violent and unpredictable, with sometimes torrential rains.
The sequence of these extreme episodes is also becoming more common according to climatologists, and the weekend could provide a new example. In the southwestern United States, forecasts promise torrential rain soon after the mercury drop on Friday. A hurricane is looming off Mexico and could bring up to 6 inches of precipitation in parts of Arizona and California.
“This amount of rain is likely to cause flash floods here and there, especially in areas already destroyed by the fire.“Warned the NWS. Meanwhile, the heatwave continues to put pressure on California’s power grid due to record demand for air conditioning. The grid regulator, California ISO, narrowly avoided the use of rotating power outages (controlled and spread over several areas) on Tuesday. On Wednesday he renewed the alert for “invite consumers to reduce demand” in the evening.
Californians are therefore asked to avoid recharging their electric vehicles from 16:00 to 21:00, not to set the air conditioning below 25.5 ° C and to avoid turning on the lights unnecessarily. “The state and most of the West are suffering a historic heat wave in terms of duration and temperatures, which is putting pressure on the grid with heavy electricity consumption.“, Insisted the regulator. By mid-day, all solar panels generally provide one-third of California’s electricity. But as the sun goes down, the supply of photovoltaic power suddenly cuts off and other sources of electricity are currently struggling to meet the demand for air conditioning.
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