IN IMAGES, IN PICTURES – A heat dome surrounds California, Arizona and part of Nevada. However, the mercury should drop thanks to a cool Canadian air.
The western United States continued to swelter under extreme temperatures on Wednesday, September 7, with the risk of power outages in California, whose power grid was bent before the heat wave that hit the region for a week. California, as well as parts of Nevada and Arizona, are facing scorching temperatures, flirting with 45 ° C in some places, due to a heat dome in place. Mercury has yet to reach that extreme on Wednesday and Thursday, according to the US weather service, the NWS.
In this stifling atmosphere, many large fires have ravaged the region and two of them have already killed. In northern California, themillfirekilled two people, destroyed over one hundred buildings, and destroyed over 1600 acres in Siskiyou County.
The “Fire in Fairview“, which killed two people southeast of Los Angeles, continues to grow and “progress is faster than our efforts“, according to a local fire chief, Josh Janssen. The fire”continues to threaten heavily populated areas“, he added. Since Monday, more than 2800 hectares have been engulfed in fire.
“Out of control”
The mercury should fall from Friday thanks to the arrival of a cold air front from Canada, according to the meteorologist. But this event carries the risk of strong winds that could spread the flames across the western United States. “This cold air front also creates wind gusts in the American West, the NWS said in a statement. Combined with relatively low humidity, this is likely to fuel the risk of new fire starts and existing fires are likely to 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 were ordered to evacuate their homes to protect themselves from “Fire in Fairview“, but many ignored this alert according to the Riverside county police, which sent its agents door-to-door to try to convince the disobedient.
“People have to take it seriously, because of the speed of the spread, and that’s why we have expanded the evacuation zone a lot, because with the change in the wind, the weather is unpredictable, and the fire is developing rapidly.“, said to Los Angeles Times a spokeswoman for the local sheriff, Brandi Swan.
Risk of flash flooding
Plagued for more than 20 years by drought, the American West is particularly vulnerable to wildfires, which have intensified in recent years. Global warming also promotes extreme events according to scientists: heat waves are more frequent and stronger, and storms are stronger and more unpredictable, sometimes with heavy rainfall.
The sequence of these extreme episodes is also becoming more common according to climatologists, and the weekend will provide a new example. In the southwestern United States, the forecast promises heavy rain after the mercury falls on Friday. A storm is heading toward Mexico and could bring up to 6 inches of rain to parts of Arizona and California.
“This amount of rain is likely to create flash floods here and there especially in areas that have already been burned.“warns the NWS. Meanwhile, the heat wave continues to put pressure on the power grid in California, due to record air conditioning demand. The network regulator, California ISO, strictly avoids the use of rotating power cuts (controlled and distributed around various places) on Tuesday. He updated his alert on Wednesday for “encourage consumers to lower demand“at night.
Californians are therefore asked to avoid recharging their electric vehicles from 4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., without setting the air conditioning below 25.5°C and avoid turning on lights unnecessarily. “The state and much of the West is suffering from a historic heat wave of duration and temperature, putting the grid under pressure with heavy electricity use.“, insists the regulator. In the middle of the day, all the solar panels usually provide a third of the electricity in California. But at sunset, the supply of photovoltaic energy is suddenly cut off, and the other electricity source is now struggling to meet the demand for air conditioning.
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