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Heat wave sends power demand soaring in California

Heat wave sends power demand soaring in California

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — A heat wave sent Californians to their air conditioners Friday and drove power demand to its highest peak of the year as the southern region sweltered under 100-degree temperatures.

Statewide electrical demand peaked Monday afternoon at 45,090 megawatts, beating a record for the year that was set on July 30, said Steven Greenlee, spokesman for the California Independent System Operator, which runs the state's power grid.

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power saw demand peak at 6,196 megawatts, surpassing a record set about four years ago, spokeswoman Michelle Vargas said.

The Los Angeles Unified School District canceled outside high school sporting events through Tuesday, and the San Diego Unified School District set minimum-day schedules for schools that didn't have air conditioning in all classrooms.

Woodland Hills in Los Angeles's San Fernando Valley hit a high of 107, breaking a 1989 record for the date of 106, the National Weather Service reported.

Riverside's 108 tied a record set in 1917, while the desert community of Thermal hit 113 degrees, tying a 2000 record for the date.

Alpine in San Diego County was 102, tying a 1984 high.

A ridge of high pressure was expected to keep the heat on through Tuesday, with the National Weather Service issuing heat warnings or advisories for valleys, mountains and inland areas from Ventura County to the Mexican border.

The heat wave also brought extreme fire danger to baking mountains, foothills and forests, the weather service reported.

Los Angeles County and other counties designated dozens of libraries, senior centers and recreational buildings as cooling centers where people could go to beat the heat.

Officials urged people to drink lots of water, take it easy and stay out of the heat if possible.

"When temperatures are high, even a few hours of exertion may cause severe dehydration, heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke," said a statement from the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

The temperature will begin to fall Wednesday but at the same time, moisture from Hurricane Odile in Mexico's Baja California will increase Southern California humidity, forecasters said.

"Most people won't notice a big difference on Wednesday," said Kathy Hoxsie, meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Oxnard. "When it's more humid, it feels just as miserable."

More moisture in the air makes it harder for perspiration to evaporate.

"The body's not able to cool itself" Hoxsie said.

Thursday will see even more humidity — perhaps as much as 40 percent in some areas — and with it, a chance of thunderstorms in the mountains.

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