heat wave

Red Flag Warning, Flex Alert Issued as County Faces Sweltering Heat This Holiday Weekend

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What to Know

  • Red flag warning will be in effect through 6 p.m. Sunday.
  • Flex Alert urges Californians to limit their energy usage Saturday through Monday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day.
  • Record-breaking triple-digit temperatures are possible this weekend, even in coastal communities.

The extreme late-summer heat wave that has brought triple-digit temperatures to parts of the San Diego area is expected to roast the region through the Labor Day weekend.

The predicted hot spell and accompanying low humidity and gusty winds out of the east prompted the National Weather Service to issue a red flag wildfire warning for the county effective from 10 a.m. Saturday to 6 p.m. Sunday. The alert signifies a likelihood of critical combustion hazards that can lead to "extreme fire behavior."

Air moisture levels will drop to the 15 to 20% range on Saturday and Sunday with poor overnight recovery, according to meteorologists. Winds out of the east are expected to reach sustained speeds between 15 to 25 mph, with gusts potentially reaching 30 to 40 mph in the southern reaches of the county.

Excessive heat warnings, meanwhile, will be in effect in the western valleys, the mountains and the deserts through 8 p.m. Monday; and in coastal areas from 10 a.m. Saturday through 8 p.m. Monday.

On Friday, the mercury climbed into the high 80s along the coast and past the 100 mark in the inland valleys, mountains and deserts, the weather service reported.

To beat the heat, people should drink plenty of fluids, stay out of the sun during the hottest parts of the day and check on potentially at-risk relatives and neighbors, the NWS advised. Also, children, seniors and pets should be never be left unattended in a vehicle, with car interiors able to "reach lethal temperatures in a matter of minutes," according to the federal agency.

A heat wave this holiday weekend will prompt a Flex Alert urging Californians to conserve energy. NBC 7's Nicole Gomez reports.

Cool Zones

To help residents escape the swelter, the county is offering nine air-conditioned "cooling centers" in Alpine, Borrego Springs, Fallbrook, Lakeside, Potrero, Ramona, Santa Ysabel, Spring Valley and Valley Center. Due to the coronavirus, mandatory mask-wearing and social-distancing protocols are enforced in the facilities.

A full list of the locations, which will be will be open from noon to 5 p.m. daily throughout the Labor Day weekend, can be found here.

Flex Alert

Meanwhile, the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) is preparing for an increase in electricity usage due to the heat wave and issued a Flex Alert to urge Californians to limit their energy usage Saturday through Monday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

When California experienced a heat wave like this last month, the state conducted rolling blackouts in order to conserve energy.

However, Governor Gavin Newsom signed an emergency proclamation Thursday allowing power plants to ignore certain permit requirements so they can generate more power to help alleviate pressure on the grid.

"Consumers can actively help by shifting energy use to morning and nighttime hours," CAISO said in their alert. "Conservation can lower demand and avoid further actions, including outages, and lessen the duration of possible power interruptions."

CAISO said that it was residents' conservation efforts during the last heat wave that allowed them to avoid rolling outages.

The CAISO offered a series of tips to conserve power, including:

  • Turning off unnecessary lights
  • Using major appliances before 3 p.m. and after 10 p.m.
  • Setting air conditioner thermostats to 78 degrees or higher
  • Using fans and keeping drapes drawn
  • Reducing the use of pool pumps

SDG&E also recommends residents to have flashlights and batteries ready. Those who rely on electric or battery-dependent medical technologies, such as breathing machines, power wheelchairs/scooters, and home oxygen or dialysis, should be prepared to activate their emergency plan.

More energy-saving tips can be found on the FlexAlert website.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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