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Rolling Blackouts, Prolonged Heatwave, And ‘Fire-nados’ Sends California To The Brink   

Californians flocked to beaches, recreation areas, and lakes this past weekend to seek relief from one of the most extreme heat waves in a generation, straining the state’s power grid to the brink of collapse, reported Bloomberg.

The heatwave brought triple-digit temperatures to parts of California over the last three days and sparked concerns of fiery tornados on Saturday.

On Sunday, the National Weather Service’s (NWS) Weather Prediction Center (WPC) tweeted temperatures from Death Valley, a desert valley in Eastern California, in the northern Mojave Desert, reached 130F, the first time since 1913.

Scorching temperatures were so intense, the state’s electrical grid warned of a continuous electricity supply shortage for Sunday into Monday and Tuesday.

California Independent System Operator (California ISO) had purchased additional power to prevent another rolling blackout and issued a Flex Alert, urging customers to reduce energy in the afternoons.

Severin Borenstein, a board member of the ISO and energy economist at the University of California, Berkeley, told SFGate that rolling outages are expected to continue early this week:

“There is a real concern that they would have to do it again tomorrow and Tuesday,” he said Sunday about the rolling outages.

We noted Saturday that rolling blackouts started Friday when the state’s power reserves had fallen below a critical threshold due to elevated temperatures increased demand for power. The grid issued a “Stage 3 Grid Emergency,” which triggered the “load interruption.”

According to ABC News, this is the first round of “Stage 3” blackouts facing the state since the 2000-2001 energy crisis that forced the state’s largest utility – PG&E – into bankruptcy and led to the ouster of former Gov Gray Davis.

The blistering heat was also a major concern for firefighters battling several wildfires in Northern California.

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