California Governor Declares State of Emergency Amid Extreme Heat Wave

California Governor Declares State of Emergency Amid Extreme Heat Wave

California’s government has declared a state of emergency amid concerns about the power system, as some areas of southwestern United States registered dangerously high temperatures.

Experts have issued an excessive heat warning for much of California and Arizona and parts of southern Nevada and Utah.

Authorities have asked people to stay in air-conditioned areas and out of the sun. Additionally, they have urged Californians to conserve energy during peak hours when temperatures are expected to range between 100-110F (37-43C) on the weekend.

The state of emergency will be in effect until 11:59 p.m. Sunday (06:59 GMT Sunday).

According to Governor Gavin Newsom, it was imposed to “reduce the strain on the energy infrastructure and increase energy capacity.” The California Independent System Operator, which controls most of California’s electrical grid, advised citizens to set thermostats to 78F (25C) or higher and avoid using unnecessary lights or large appliances.

A thermometer at the Furnace Creek Visitor Center in California’s Death Valley National Park, considered one of the world’s hottest places, marked 130F (54C) on Thursday.

Higher temperatures were also felt in the San Francisco Bay Area, where several cities have installed cooling centers. Besides, temperatures reached 118F (48C) on Thursday in Phoenix, Arizona, while Las Vegas recorded 115F (46C) and Denver hit 100F (38C) for the third straight day.

Around 50 million people have been under heat advisories and excessive heat warnings throughout the southwest.

Specialists said the heat wave had been caused by a high-pressure system parked in the southwest since Tuesday, a week before summer officially begins in the northern hemisphere. The event has exacerbated a mega-drought, which has dried up reservoirs and rivers.

States on the US West Coast should prepare for more similar events, scientists stated.

Park Williams, a climate and fire scientist at the University of California, was quoted by the Associated Press as saying: “Heat waves are getting worse in the West [Coast] because the soil is so dry” from the region’s mega-drought.

“We could have two, three, four, five of these heat waves before the end of the summer,” Williams added.